Workshop of Marinus van Reymerswaele
Saint Jerome in his Study
69x91cm, Oil on panel
In the lower left corner there is a late owner's (?) monogram, F.W.
Marinus van Reymerswaele was born in the city of Reimerswaal, from which he derived his last name. He studied at the University of Leuven and then trained as a glass painter in Antwerp under Symon van Daele. He worked in Antwerp from 1531 to 1540, and then moved to Goes, where he died around 15461.
He is known for his genre scenes and religious compositions, which show the influence of Quentin Matsys and Albrecht Dürer. He operated a large workshop that produced many versions of mainly four themes: the tax collectors, the money changer and his wife, the calling of Saint Matthew and St. Jerome in his study.
His works were popular in the 16th century and were copied many times by other artists. Some of his paintings are signed, but many others are attributed to him on stylistic grounds. His paintings can be found in various museums around the world, such as the National Gallery in London, the Prado Museum in Madrid, and the Bargello Museum in Florence.
This painting depicts Saint Jerome, one of the Church Fathers and a renowned biblical scholar and translator, in his monastic cell, surrounded by books, a skull and other objects. He is pointing at the skull with his right hand. On his side stands a copy of a book which shows a scene of the Last Judgment, with Christ judging the souls of the dead. The skull and the book are reminders of the mortality and vanity of human life, and the need for repentance and salvation. Saint Jerome is looking at the viewer with a serious and thoughtful expression, as if inviting him to reflect on these spiritual matters.
The painting is a typical example of the Dutch school of the 16th century, influenced by the work of Albrecht Dürer, in particular “St. Jerome” currently exhibited in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga of Lisbon. The workshop of Marinus van Reymerswaele produced several versions of this subject, following the original composition by the master himself. The painting shows a realistic and detailed rendering of the interior and the objects, as well as a vivid and harmonious use of color.
Rogier Vivier Private collection
Auctions Pierre Berge & Associes, Belgium 23/11/2009
Private collection, Zürich, Switzerland