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 Mod- ernes, Schaan, Liechtenstein];
[Spencer A. Samuels and Co., Ltd., New York, by September 1969, when sold to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.
  • Brettell, Richard R. and Stephen F. Eisenman, Nineteenth-Century Art in the Norton Simon Museum, volume 1,2006,
  • Caen-Bermudez, J. A., Diccionario historico de los mas illustres profesores de las bellas artes en España,
  • European Paintings of the 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries: The Cleveland Museum of Art Catalogue of Paintings, Part Three,no. 216, fig. 216c
  • Lurie, Ann Tzeutschler, Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art,no. 3, fig. 4 pp. 131, 140
  • Various authors, edited by Mark Rogián, Spanish Art in America,2016, p. 193 ; p. 194 (ill.)
  • de Beruete y Moret, Aureliano, Goya: Composiciones y figuras, pp. 103-104
  • Sullivan, Edward J., Goya and the Art of His Time,no. I.9, fig. 34
  • Gudiol, José, Goya 1746-1828: Biography, Analytical Study and Catalogue of His Paintings,vol. I, no. 181; vol. II, figs. 279, 280
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 728 p. 332
  • Mayer, August L., Francisco de Goya,no. 48, fig. 10
  • Covey, Herbert C., Images of Older People in Western Art and Society,pl. 11 p. 49
  • 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,fig. 10
  • 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
  • Longhi, R.; and August L. Mayer, Gli Antici Pintori Spagnoli della Collezione Contini-Bonacossi, p. 18
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 106
  • Young, Eric, Francisco Goya,no. 17
  • Sánchez de Riviera y Mosét, Daniel, Goya: la leyenda, la enfermedad y las pinturas religiosas,pl. L p. 73
  • Young, Eric, The Connoisseur,pl. B pp. 176-185
  • Young, Eric, Francisco Goya,no. 17
  • Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Xavier, Revista de Ideas Esteticas, pp. 297-298
  • Jean-Luc Baroni Ltd., Master Paintings and Sculpture,no. 30, fig. 2
  • Morse, John D., Old Master Paintings in North America,1979, p. 143
  • de Salas, Xavier, Goya,no. 314 p. 186
  • Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Xavier, Vida y obras de Goya, pp. 61, 136
Audio Tour
English | Español
Audio Tour Transcript
English | Español
English | Español
Transcripción de Audioguía
English | Español

Additional Artwork by Artist

Caprichos: Goya y Lucientes, Painter ( Goya y Lucientes, Pintor) Francisco de Goya y Lucientes 1799
Caprichos: Here Comes the Bogey-Man (Que viene el coco) Francisco de Goya y Lucientes 1799
Caprichos: Nanny's Boy (El de la rollona) Francisco de Goya y Lucientes 1799

Image reproduction permission may be granted for scholarly or arts related commercial use. All image requests, regardless of their intended purpose, should be submitted via the reproduction request form.

Images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. Additional permission may be required.

Approved requests for the reproduction of an image will receive a contract detailing all fees and conditions of use of the image. Upon receipt of both the signed contract and full payment, the Office of Rights and Reproductions will provide the image. A complimentary copy of the published material must be provided to the Norton Simon Museum.

Reproduction Request Form