Orazio Borgianni
The Vision of St. Jerome

Circa 1600
Oil on canvas, 69.3 x 49.6 in. (176 x 126 cm.)
The Louvre

This is the vision that the Golden Legend says came to Jerome after his conversion but still early in his life. He dreamed that the angels were scourging him because of his continuing attachment to pagan classical literature.

The angel on the right appears to be treading a book of such literature underfoot. The image of Christ above corresponds to the "judge" in the vision who tells Jerome, "you are no Christian, you are a Ciceronian, for where your treasure is, there your heart is also" (Ryan II, 212). The Virgin (in the blue mantle) and the other figures surrounding Christ represent "the people present" in Jerome's imagined trial, who "pleaded with the judge to pardon the adolescent" (ibid.).

The saint hardly looks "adolescent" in the painting. His red cloak refers to the Legend's statement that he was a cardinal.

More of St. Jerome

Source: Web Gallery of Art via Wikimedia Commons