Saint Jerome in the Desert
Desiderio da Settignano (c. 1430-1464)
Florentine, mid-15th century

This relief of Jerome illustrates the saint in typical iconography. Jerome (345/7-420) was a doctor of the Church. He is credited with the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible. In 375-6 he went into the desert to live as a penitent ascetic. In this relief, Jerome is depicted in the desert its barren landscape characterized by the stylized rocky crags. Dressed in ragged clothes, he kneels beneath an image of the crucified Christ. A lion, one of Jerome’s attribute, and a lioness enter the scene from the left. According to a second century legend, Jerome removed a thorn from a lion’s paw, thus befriending the animal for life.

Saint Francis Adoring the Crucifix
Francesco Trevisani (1656-1746)
Roman, 1730
Oil on canvas

The meditation represented here precedes the moment when Saint Francis receives the stigmata, the injuries Jesus incurred during crucifixion. In this painting Francis is shown in quiet contemplation his hands clasped in prayer meditating on the Word represented by the crucifix and the Bible on which it rests. Francis is identifiable by two of his attributes: his brown, homespun robe and the crucifix. The juxtaposition of the crucifix and skull suggest his contemplation of the eternal salvation that Jesus’ death brings.