Antonello da Messina

Antonello da Messina Active 1456. d Messina. 1479 Saint Jerome In his Study C1475-6. Oil on panel. National Gallery. London

Antonello da Messina Active 1456. d Messina. 1479
Saint Jerome In his Study C1475-6. Oil on panel. National Gallery. London

Antonello da Messina Saint Jerome in his Study

Stealing a look through the open window of St Jerome’s study, the viewer secs the saint absorbed in his reading. Only the lion on the right pauses in his tracks to acknowledge the outside world.

It is possible that Antonello was influenced by aspects of Netherlandish painting; details such as the objects on the shelves, the died floor, the birds perched on the windowsill and the quality of the light arc reminiscent of the intense realism of paintings by Robert Campin and Jan van F.yck. There is no proof that Antonello ever left Italy, but he seems to have been familiar with the techniques of the Netherlandish masters. Several authorities believe he was taught oil painting techniques by the master Van F.yck himself, and then brought the ‘secret’ method to Italy. More likely, Antonello was influenced by Flemish artists in Milan. In 1475-6 he was in Venice, where his innovative technique greatly influenced Giovanni Bellini.