Simon Vouet, “Saint Jerome and the Angel,” c. 1622/1625
Simon Vouet was the dominant figure in French painting in the 1630s and into the early 1640s. Born in Paris in 1590, he developed a novel palette of high-key colors and daring juxtapositions of hue, especially lemon yellow and gold, chilly hues, and hot oranges. His mastery in drawing the human figure enabled him to render difficult foreshortenings seemingly without effort.
Vouet was extraordinarily adept at telling religious stories. What is the story of this painting? Can you find symbols of #Vanitas?
In “Saint Jerome and the Angel,” an angel of inspiration stands beyond the rugged figure of the seated saint. Saint Jerome, who is translating the Hebrew and Greek of the Bible to the Latin Vulgate, is surrounded by symbols of the transience of life. The hourglass, the candle, and skull are all overt vanitas images, the eyeglasses and papers are more subtle allusions to the passage of time. #ArtAtoZ
Simon Vouet, “Saint Jerome and the Angel,” c. 1622/1625, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1961.9.52