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Sunday, 27 October 2013

ART I admire: St. Jerome by Cosimo Tura [c. 1470]

Saint Jerome is shown beating his breast with a stone while praying. This refers to the two years he spent in the desert of Chalcis (376-8) repenting of his sins. The lion, one of the saint's attributes, is on the left. According to legend, Jerome befriended the lion by pulling a thorn out of its paw. The other animals may symbolise evil or simply suggest the wilderness. The wall-creeper and the owl may symbolise evil (the owl's nocturnal habits were sometimes associated with sin) or may simply suggest the desert setting.

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