Sunday, April 10, 2016

Cats in Art: The Penitent Saint Jerome

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.

The bride and I recently visited the Ringling Brothers art museum in Sarasota, FL.  This is post 4 of 4 of some of the artworks we saw there.

Image credit Gary, of painting at the Ringling Museum, The Penitent Saint Jerome, Jacopo del Sellaio, ca 1480-90, 30" x 21", oil on panel, held by the Ringling Museum, Sarasota, FL. 

And the kitty close-up--of course, from the lower left corner, where the cats always seem to wind up:

Here is what the museum itself tells us in the placard posted with the painting:

Saint Jerome is frequently depicted with a (presumably!) trusty lion at his side...which to me says a great deal about what a cool guy (and later saint) he must have been.  I strongly identify with him as being a seeker, a humble and penitent man, and a scholar.  A guy who loved the wilderness as a place where he could confront the big questions about life and love and God.  He must have done some pretty serious abyss-staring during his journeys of self-discovery in the back country...where we, too, as Ultrarunners, go to learn about ourselves.

Saint Jerome was a very popular saint in the Middle Ages.  And as we can easily discover using the Google machine (here and here), in contemporary society Saint Jerome does at least eight-fold duty as the Patron of Archaeologists, Librarians, Scholars, Scripture Scholars, Translators, Students, Abandoned Children, and Orphans.  And I'd wager that if you check other Catholic sites you are likely to uncover more patronages for the busy Saint Jerome.

As an aside, as I looked back over my Cats in Art posts here for the last several years, I have featured Saint Jerome here at Mister Tristan (the blog, not the 8 year old human being) some 4 previous times:

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]

1 comment:

  1. Cat enthusiasts point to the domestic cat in "Jerome in his Study" but ignore the fact that all other portraits of Jerome show him with a Lion, not a domestic cat. Alas, cat-enthusiasts ( like other enthusiasts) only repeat things that suit their own interests, ignoring everything else.