Visualising interior space

St. Jerome in his study

Nicolás Francés
French Early 15th Century

Henry V. Steinwick
1560 - 1649

Albrecht Dürer
1471 - 1528

Antonello da Messina
Italian (Southern Italy)
1430 - 1479

Michelangelo Merisi, called later Caravaggio
Italian (Milanese
1571 - 1610

An interesting thread of how to show a very particular space - St. Jerome absorbed in his desert study, isolated yet consoled by his crucifix, skull and loyal Lion. The paintings all illustrate a part of the medieval Golden Legend (1260) which elaborated the lives of various fathers of the church. What is interesting is the point of view of the viewer, most of the artists keep us apart, looking in, to heighten the isolation and undisturbed quality of his space. Antonello and Steinwick both feel it necessary to somehow create a space within a space to further underline the other worldly quality of the saint's state of mind, Durer and Caravaggio do this with light. They all seem to strive to portray the space as a representation or parallel of the saint's psychological remove. So in a way they are spaces that we can never be part of. Caravaggio with his typical baroque swagger invites us to cross the line.

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