Saint Gerolamo on wood, painter of the XVI-XVII century, oil on wood, cm 197X65
Usually described as emaciated anacoreta or intent to write the vulgate in the guise of refined scholar, in the work examined here St. Jerome is solemnly portrayed standing with an elegant purple robe and the Bible. The peculiarity of the format, the support and the dimensions suggest that originally the work was part of a polyptych or as a side element of a composition similar to the one that conceived Rubens for the Church of Vallicella. On the other hand, from the stylistic point of view, the execution can be placed in the first half of the seventeenth century and realized by an artist from the Lombardy area. Despite its illustrative elegance, the figure emanates a sort of accentuated naturalism, which we perceive by observing the woody and strong hands, mindful of that gestural woodiness that we find for example in the works of Girolamo Savoldo. This leads, as mentioned, to imagine which place of execution those areas of Lombardy marked by the chiaroscuro taste of Brescia and Cremona with Milanese contaminations. The traditional attribution of the table to the cremasco Giovanni Angelo Ferrario (Crema, 1581 – after 1636), probably by analogy with the paintings representing San Gioacchino and Sant’Anna of the parish church of Ripalta Arpina and with the fragmentary ‘Testa di Donna ‘dal Pala di Sant’Agnese already in Sant’Antonio Abate and now in a private collection (see C. Alpini,’ Giovanni Angelo Ferrerio ‘, in the catalog of the exhibition’ L’estro e la realtà. ‘, Milan 1997, pp. 40 – 63).