Agostino Carracci, St Jerome, an unfinished engraving

Italy, around AD 1602 (state II)

The penitent saint

This unfinished plate (unsigned here but signed on state IV) was published shortly after the death of Agostino Carracci (1557-1602). It was then completed by another artist and re-issued. The saint is identified by the lightly outlined cardinal's hat in the incomplete lower right-hand corner, and by the half-finished lion on the upper left. The isolated finger in the unworked area on the upper right belongs to Jerome's left hand, which was to grasp a crucifix.

Agostino Carracci, with his more famous brother Annibale (1560-1609) and their cousin Lodovico (1555-1619), formed their own teaching academy in Bologna in the 1580s. They moved away from the dominant Mannerist style of painting in favour of greater naturalism and a revival of the earlier High Renaissance art of Raphael, Michelangelo and Titian.

Agostino greatly enriched the language of engraving by combining the achievements of earlier masters. His first signed engraving of 1576 is influenced by the style of his fellow Bolognese Marcantonio Raimondi. He then adopted from Cornelis Cort the swelling and tapering engraved line, in repeated parallel curves, that is especially visible on the rock behind St Jerome, or in his hair and beard. Finally, he was stimulated by Hendrik Goltzius to engrave the supple range of dots, curves, and dark cross-hatching that describe Jerome's torso and extended right arm.

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More information


D. DeG. Bohlin, Prints and related drawings by (National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1979)


Height: 384.000 mm
Width: 276.000 mm

Museum number

PD U-2-77 (Bartsch 75)



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