1.  In 373, at Antioch, Jerome
asked himself if he were not a disciple of
Cicero rather than Christ, his eternal home;
and thereupon abandoned his early love for
philosophy, law, language, and literature,
and devoted himself instead to the remove
of Hebrew, Greek, and translating Holy Scripture,
seeking sure sources. That hard work is the setting
of Saint Jerome in His Study, Dürer’s picture
of 1514, an intricate engraving
with skull, crucifix, and hour glass, far from Rome,
with thornless lion, dog, and fine, faithful lighting.

2.  Saint Jerome in His Study by Dürer
is remarkable for many reasons.
The engraver could not have been purer
in his very believable thesis.
Realistic details predominate;
life’s distilled with skillful accuracy;
each detail seems to suggest something great
or greater than it is and what you see.
The skull implies death, the hour glass, time,
the dog, faithfulness, the lion, kindness,
the crucifix, the Son of God sublime,
the tomes, knowledge, the halo, divineness,
the candle, the lantern, the window, light,
suffusing all throughout, godly and bright.

 

Bruce Dale Wise is a poet living in Washington State.

Featured Image: “Saint Jerome in His Study,” engraving, 1514, Albrecht Dürer (Wikimedia Commons)

 


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