This Renaissance oil painting is titled Saint Jerome as Scholar that is dated to 1610, it is on display in The Met.
The piece was created by Greek painter Doménikos Theotokópoulos, better known as El Greco. Not only was he a painter but also a sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. He was born October 1541 and died in April 1614 in Spain at the age of 72. His work was known to be dramatic and expressionistic and was first found to be confusing by his contemporaries but found appreciation by the 20th century.
This painting was made in the last years of the artist’s life and was not the first version they painted. The saint, Jerome, is portrayed by what he is known best for; translating the Bible from Greek to Latin in the fifth century. He is seated and takes the center of the canvas with an open book laid out in front of him. Although he is not looking at the book his hands are placed in the way of reading and trying to keep his place as his eyes go past the viewer. He wears red to represent his position as a cardinal, his gray hair and long beard show his aged figure. El Greco painted him in a way that comes across long proportionally but still very realistic. The painting is recognized for its display of Jerome not just as a saint but also as a scholar to viewers.
Similar to his contemporaries I find his work puzzling, although it has an attraction to it, that if you walked by it there is no doubt you would turn around and look once again. It’s understandable why he was able to influence so many famous artists that came after him.