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Saint Jerome In Meditation

Saint Jerome In Meditation View Interactive Version ]

Saint Jerome was the best-known Christian scholar of the fourth century. He translated the Bible into Latin, then the lingua franca of the literate. At Monticello Jefferson placed Saint Jerome in Meditation in the Entrance Hall. In his undated Catalogue of Paintings, he described it as "A bust of St. Jerome in meditation, his head reclined on his right hand, and a book in his left. of full size, on canvas. copied from Goltzius."

Goltzius, a Dutch artist of German ancestry, is chiefly known as an outstanding engraver, who, in addition to his own work, successfully imitated the styles of Dürer and Lucas van Leyden and other Old Masters. He traveled to Rome in 1590, thus coming into contact with the work of Michelangelo and Raphael. In Haarlem Goltzius turned to painting after his return from Rome. Although some of his work was in Parisian collections in the late eighteenth century, it is not known if Jefferson's painting was copied from a painting or an engraving. The painting bears some resemblance to an engraving of St. Jerome (1596) by Goltzius based on a drawing by Jacopo Palma il Giovane.

Artist/Makercopy after Hendrik Goltzius
Createdafter 1596
Object TypeArt and Sculpture
Materialsoil on canvas
Dimensions24 1/2 x 19 1/2 in.
LocationEntrance Hall


  1. Thomas Jefferson, Catalog of Paintings&c. at Monticello.
  2. Walter Strauss, Hendrik Goltzius 1558-1617, 616.

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