ALBRECHT DÜRER (1471-1528)
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ALBRECHT DÜRER (1471-1528)

Saint Jerome in his Study

Details
ALBRECHT DÜRER (1471-1528)
Saint Jerome in his Study
engraving, 1514, on laid paper, without watermark, a very fine, early, luminous Meder a impression, printing with strong contrasts, depth and remarkable clarity, trimmed on or just inside the platemark but retaining a fillet of blank paper outside the borderline on all sides
Sheet 246 x 188 mm.
Provenance
With Colnaghi & Co., London (with their stocknumber C 29418 in pencil verso).
With Galleria Grafica, Tokio.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, circa 1980-90.
Literature
Bartsch 60; Meder, Hollstein 59; Schoch Mende Scherbaum 70
Special notice

This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Tim Schmelcher
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Lot Essay

Saint Jerome was one of the fathers of the Church and author of the Vulgate - the early 5th century translation of the biblical texts into vulgate Latin. By Dürer's time he had, as a scholar and Latinist, become an iconic figure for the humanists. Jerome appears more frequently in Dürer's work than any other saint. The date of the print, 1514, coincides with the year of publication of the translation into German of the saint's biography, by Dürer's friend and fellow citizen Lazarus Spengler.
The saint is immediately identifiable by his attributes - the cardinal's hat and the lion - as he sits writing at his desk in a small, light-filled chamber. It is a friendly room where one might feel welcome, were it not for the lion and a sleeping dog guarding the entrance, and the wooden bench turned away from us as if to shield the saint from any intrusion.
Together with Melencolia I (see lot 20) and Knight, Death and the Devil, Saint Jerome in his Study is one of the three so-called 'Meisterstiche' ('Master Prints') by Albrecht Dürer. The term is appropriate as with these prints he undoubtedly reached the height of his capacities as an engraver. Aside from their technical brilliance, the prints are also connected by their near-identical format and their concentration on a single figure in a highly complex, richly symbolic environment. If, as has been suggested, they represent three different modes of virtuous living, Saint Jerome depicts the lonely, quiet life of the man of letters.
It is the bright sunlight falling through the bull's eye windows, throwing their pattern on the walls and flooding the room with warmth, described by Dürer with dazzling virtuosity, which is the formal theme of this print, and which make it one of the most charming and best-loved of all of Dürer's engravings, lavishly praised by Vasari that said: 'nothing more and nothing better could be done in this field of art'. Yet Dürer in his unique brilliance and skill as a printmaker made that sunshine still seem outshun by the saint's halo, which is the brightest spot of the whole image, especially luminous in the present impression.

The present impression compares well with the Slade impression and favourably with the Dighton impression in the British Museum.

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