Workshop of Jusepe de Ribera, 17th century
Office of the President of the Republic, Grand Master's Palace (Republic Street Valletta, Malta)
124 x 98 cm (without frame)
Oil on canvas
"This St. Jerome is probably the picture which was mistaken to be the work of Caravaggio by the person who informed Giovanni Pietro Bellori on the Lombard painter`s work in Malta. In his discussion of Caravaggio`s Maltese works in the 'Vite', Bellori mentioned a painting of St. Jerome ('Fece un altro San Girolamo con un teschio nella meditazione della morte, il quale tuttavia resta nel palazzo') (Hibbard 1983, 369) located in the Grand Masters Palace in Valletta. This has led to a search for a lost painting by Caravaggio, but in all probability this was simply a case of mistaken authorship"
"In this painting St. Jerome is shown in three quarters length, holding a skull close to his chest and meditating over it.. The saint also holds his other symbols, the cross and the pebble in hand, whilst a book, an ink pot, and a quill are placed on a stone ledge at bottom right. The picture absorbs the spectator`s interest and is charged with a psychological penetration which is typical of Ribera`s late works. Its palette is restricted and dominated by the beautiful contrast between the large red drapery and the supple flesh of the saint." Citation: Caravaggio and paintings of realism in Malta / edited by Cynthia De Giorgio and Keith Sciberras. - Valletta : Midsea Books, 2007