Saint Jerome in Penitence
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828)
On View

An early Christian scholar, St. Jerome produced the first Latin translation of the Bible. He lived the life of an ascetic for four years in the desert while studying and praying to free himself from worldly desire. Emaciated and scantily clad, here he contemplates a crucifix in his harsh wilderness retreat. Around him lie his books and writing materials, as well as the scourge used for his repentant self-reproof and a skull (the symbol of death) that served as aids in spiritual contemplation. In his hand he holds the stone with which he beat his breast in penitence.

Goya’s beautifully rendered St. Jerome in Penitence may have originally formed part of a series of the four Fathers of the Church, along with his St. Ambrose (Cleveland Museum of Art), St. Gregory (Museo Romántico, Madrid) and St. Augustine (private collection). However, while all of these paintings are almost identical in size, the intimate depiction of St. Jerome as the fervent anchorite contrasts starkly with the less spontaneous and more classical depiction of the other church fathers in their sumptuous Roman liturgical robes.


  • Artist Name: Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828)
  • Title: Saint Jerome in Penitence
  • Date: 1798
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 75-1/8 x 45 in. (190.8 x 114.3 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1970.08.P
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

Said to have come from the Jesuit mission, province of Toledo, Spain (possibly San Ildefonso?).
Manuel Vilches, Madrid, by 1917;
Luis Vilches, Madrid, 1923, still in 1957; [Stanley Moss and Co., Inc., New York];
[Schmid & Schmid Aktiengesellschaft für Kunsthandel, Vaduz, Liechtenstein, sold 22 January 1964, to];
[Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, New York / Galerie des Arts Anciens et Modernes, Schaan, Liechtenstein];
[Spencer A. Samuels and Co., Ltd., New York, by September 1969, when sold to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

[on loan]

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1970-02 to

[on loan]

  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), 1970-03-30 to 1971-02

[on loan]

  • Cleveland Museum of Art, 1971-03 to 1973-07-26

[on loan]

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1973-07-27 to 1974-11-27

Reinstallation of Galleries: Art History of the 17th and 18th Century Gains Fresh Dimension

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1993-09-02 to 1995-08-13
  • Young, Eric, The Connoisseur, pl. B pp. 176-185
  • de Salas, Xavier, Goya, no. 314 p. 186
  • Mayer, August L., Francisco de Goya, no. 48, fig. 10
  • Young, Eric, Francisco Goya, no. 17
  • Gudiol, José, Goya 1746-1828: Biography, Analytical Study and Catalogue of His Paintings, vol. I, no. 181; vol. II, figs. 279, 280
  • Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Xavier, Vida y obras de Goya, pp. 61, 136
  • Caen-Bermudez, J. A., Diccionario historico de los mas illustres profesores de las bellas artes en España, 1800,
  • de Beruete y Moret, Aureliano, Goya: Composiciones y figuras, 1917, pp. 103-104
  • Longhi, R.; and August L. Mayer, Gli Antici Pintori Spagnoli della Collezione Contini-Bonacossi, 1938, p. 18
  • Sánchez de Riviera y Mosét, Daniel, Goya: la leyenda, la enfermedad y las pinturas religiosas, 1943, pl. L p. 73
  • Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Xavier, Revista de Ideas Esteticas, 1946, pp. 297-298
  • Steadman, David W., The Graphic Art of Francisco Goya from the Norton Simon Foundation, the Norton Simon, Inc. Museum of Art and the Pomona College Collections, 1975, fig. 10
  • Young, Eric, Francisco Goya, 1978, no. 17
  • Morse, John D., Old Master Paintings in North America, 1979, p. 143
  • European Paintings of the 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries: The Cleveland Museum of Art Catalogue of Paintings, Part Three, 1982, no. 216, fig. 216c
  • Sullivan, Edward J., Goya and the Art of His Time, 1982, no. I.9, fig. 34
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, 1989, p. 106
  • Lurie, Ann Tzeutschler, Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, 1991, no. 3, fig. 4 pp. 131, 140
  • Covey, Herbert C., Images of Older People in Western Art and Society, 1991, pl. 11 p. 49
  • Jean-Luc Baroni Ltd., Master Paintings and Sculpture, 2003, no. 30, fig. 2
  • Brettell, Richard R. and Stephen F. Eisenman, Nineteenth-Century Art in the Norton Simon Museum, volume 1, 2006,
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 728 p. 332
  • Various authors, edited by Mark Rogián, Spanish Art in America, 2016, p. 193 ; p. 194 (ill.)
  • Juliet Wilson-Bareau, Goya in the Norton Simon Museum, 2016, cat. 1 p. 6, 13-14, 37, 77, 84 (ill.), 85-86, 88-90, 96, 254
  • Martin-Estudillo, Luis, Goya and the Mystery of Reading, 2023, Fig. 2.4 pp. 84-86, p. 85 (ill.)
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Additional Artwork by Artist

Copies after Velázquez: Isabel de Borbón Francisco de Goya y Lucientes 1778-79
Copies after Velázquez: Un infante de España (Infante Don Fernando) Francisco de Goya y Lucientes c. 1778-79
Desastres de la Guerra Francisco de Goya y Lucientes c. 1810-15

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