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On Display

Cesare da Sesto (1477-1523)

St Jerome

Cesare da Sesto was born in Lombardy in northern Italy. He travelled widely working in Rome, Naples, Milan and Messina. While he was indebted to the work of Leonardo Da Vinci and Raphael, he was an influential painter in his own right, spreading the ideas of Renaissance art on his travels through Italy.

This painting from around 1520 shows St Jerome living as a hermit in the desert of Chalcis. There he studied Hebrew so that he could read the Old Testament in its original language before translating it directly into Latin. This 'Vulgate' translation would have been used by the Italian artists of the Renaissance. The painting shows Cesare's many influences: Jerome's head contrasted against the tree owes a debt to Leonardo, while the treatment of his hair and the landscape beyond is reminiscent of Durer. Yet all of this is combined into a coherent and original portrait that is an embodiment of Renaissance art practice.

Medium oil on wood
Date 1520
Dimensions 803mm x 607mm
Acquisition Number SOTAG : 1958/2
Credit Line Purchased in 1958 through the Chipperfield Bequest Fund