When the Saints Go Arting In: Jerome

Jo Thornely
3 min readMay 22, 2020

Today I looked at pictures of St Jerome, who became best friends with a lion after removing a thorn from its paw. The absolute best part of the whole St Jerome deal is how artists depict the lion, especially his face.

Take for example this buddy, who breaks the fourth wall with a ‘can ya believe I got this thorn in me paw’ face.

Or this one, painted by Rogier van der Weiden, who we can safely assume has never seen a lion before, but has definitely seen a petulant three-year-old.

This lion looks like he started out by telling his mate Jerome that he has an ouchie and it really stings, but then suddenly notices there’s an artist painting him and swiftly changes gear to ROWR I AM DEFINITELY KING OF THE JUNGLE etc

Whereas with this lion, we can only be sure of two things: it has a lisp, and it has a massive crush on Saint Jerome.

Here Giovanni Lianori has painted a very irritated Jerome, who is perhaps starting to suspect that this is in fact a monkey wearing a lion costume.

While Palma Giovane’s picture shows that it’s the lion‘s turn to be pissed off, perhaps remembering the time when it used to be out in the wild chasing wildebeest, not being used as a desk.

But my favourite is probably Sano di Pietro‘s lion, who definitely just remembered he left the iron on.

Anyway, thank you for coming with me on this journey entitled You Don’t Have To Know What A Lion Looks Like To Paint A Lion.

Sorry.

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