Sunday, June 14, 2015

Cats in Art: Saint Jerome Penitent (Lotto)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. I am using some ideas from the coffee table book, The Cat in Art, by Stefano Zuffi.  Last week's post was on a truly strange piece by Lorenzo Lotto (here), and now I've uncovered a second painting by Lotto that contains a cat.

Image credit Renaissance Connection, here, Saint Jerome Penitent, 1515, Lorenzo Lotto, 15" x 12", oil on panel, held by Allentown Art Museum of Lehigh Valley, Allentown, PA. 

The Renaissance Connection folks offer this background info:

Saint Jerome was the first person to translate the bible into the language of ordinary people — a form of Latin known as the Vulgate. His work to make the bible understandable for everyone made him a popular subject for Renaissance painters. Legend has it that Saint Jerome removed a thorn from a lion's paw, and in turn, the lion remained his faithful companion for years. In this painting, the lion gazes out at us as Saint Jerome watches Christ's suffering on the cross. The painting is called Saint Jerome Penitent; penitent meaning sorrow and regret for past wrongdoings. He holds a rock in his hand, ready to strike himself as punishment for his sins.
Couple of comments:  first, check out the owner of this small piece.  I'm excited because it's here in Pennsylvania, and not all that far away.  Sounds like a good road trip to me!

Second, this painting by Lotto contrast nicely with the black and white engraving by Albrecht Durer (my subject of Cats in Art from 31 May, here) also depicting Saint Jerome in the wilderness.  Where Lotto's lion above seems calm and placid, Durer's lion below (from some 20 years earlier) seems agitated, angry, coiled and ready to pounce.

I'm kinda partial to Lotto's kitty.

I'll include the Durer engraving image here again:

No comments:

Post a Comment