Strange fate of St Jerome

Why is this picture in such a bad condition?
When was it so?
Nobody knows that yet.

Furthermore, there is no signature and document, but all people believe that Leonardo painted this picture.

The expression technique of anatomic in this picture is perfect, therefore it is suggested that this painting is dated the first Milanese period.

It shoul be noted that the panel ia walnut, If this picture was drawn in Florence, it must be poplar.

Mona Lisa - Poplar
Madonna of the Carnation - poplar
Annunciation - poplar
The Baptism of Christ - poplar

Firenze = poplar

Milano = walnut



St Jerome


St Jerome

Oil and tempera on walnut, 102.8 x 73.5 cm Rome, Pinacoteca Vaticana

The provenance of the St Jerome cannot be traced with certainty beyond the first quarter of the 19th century. The painting is first mentioned in the second volume of Carl Friedrich Von Rumohr's
Popular legend has it that the Cardinal Joseph Fesch(Napoleon’s uncle) discovered the part of the panel with the saint’s torso being offered as a table-top in a shop in Rome.
Many years later, he found another piece being used as a wedge for shoemaker’s bench.
Now this popular legend has been rejected.
After his death, the piece was purchased by Pope Pius IX, between 1846 and 1857. Since then the painting has remained in the uninterrupted possession of the Pinacoteca Vaticana.
St Jerome formed part of the collection of Angelica Kauffmann in Rome at the start of the 19th century. , but this theory too has been rejected by recent scholars.

The panel made of vertically two boards of different widths and planed off on the back.The paint extends all the way to the edges of the panel.
At some unknown point in time,the panel has been cut in four and was reassembled. This painting reveals damage in a number of places and It was last restored in 1930 and 1993.

Leonardo used expression technique of anatomic in this picture.The muscle from neck to a shoulder is particularly splendid, and muscle of the face is accurate detailed.
As a successful artist, he was given permission to dissect human corpses at the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova in Florence and later at hospitals in Milan and Rome. From 1510 to 1511 he collaborated in his studies with the doctor Marcantonio della Torre.

Leonardo has rubbed the paint with his hand in a number of places, for example the sky and the rocks of the background. He started this picture with tempera, and dipicted underdrawings with oil medium.

In an inventory compiled by Leonardo in Milan in or after 1495, the artist mentions certain figures of Saint Jerome, but whether the panel today housed in the Vatican was amongst them is doubtful to say the least. The St Jerome nevertheless seems to have been known in Milan towards the end of the 15th century.

There is widespread agreement regarding the dating of the painting. Only Strzygowski dated the work to Leonardo's first visit to Milan (at the time of The Last Supper), all scholars place the Saint Jerome in the artist's first Florentine period, about 1482.