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The Temptation of Saint Jerome

A work made of oil on panel.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on panel.




Giorgio Vasari
Italian, 1511-1574

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.


On View, Gallery 205


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Giorgio Vasari


The Temptation of Saint Jerome


Italy (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on panel


166.5 × 121.9 cm (65 1/2 × 48 in.)

Credit Line

Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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