About this artwork
Best known for his Lives of the Artists, a monumental compendium of biographies, Giorgio Vasari was a successful architect and a prolific painter for the Medici dukes of Florence. As a learned artist, he imparted an allegorical element to this frequently depicted episode from the life of Saint Jerome. The saint—a scholar, translator of the Bible, and advocate of monasticism—vividly described the tempting visions that assailed him when he retreated to the desert to meditate. In this painting, Jerome contemplates a crucifix; his visions are personified as Venus, the goddess of love, accompanied by cupids. Although Venus seems to flee, one of the troublesome cupids still aims his arrow at the saint. The work is unfinished: the black-chalk grid, used as aid in enlarging and transferring the preparatory drawing onto the panel, is still visible through the initial thinly applied paint layers.
- Giorgio Vasari
- The Temptation of Saint Jerome
- Oil on panel
- 65 1/2 × 48 in. (166.5 × 121.9 cm)
- Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection