Hans Springinklee, St Jerome, a woodcut

Germany, signed, AD 1522

The Saint in a Renaissance portico

This image appeared in an edition of Jerome's Latin Bible, the Vulgate, printed in Lyon in 1522. A woodcut could be printed by the same press and at the same time as the text of a book, which probably explains the choice of a woodcut specialist like Hans Springinklee (about 1490/95- after 1525) for the commission.

Hans Springinklee was a pupil and close associate of Albrecht Dürer, and this woodcut is loosely based on Dürer's masterly engraving of St Jerome of 1514.

Springkinglee assisted Dürer in the huge woodcut projects of the Emperor Maximilian, and his own woodcuts show his debt to the master's style. In this print, the strokes suggesting shadows depend on Dürer's practice, as does the careful use of white line, visible for example along the edge of Jerome's cape.

Springinklee's judgement is weaker than his technique. The fine Renaissance portico is an impressive display of up-to-date architecture rather than a suitable location for a scholar at work. The plunging perspective lines draw our eyes to the distant landscape, while our attention would be more properly focused on the saint. The lion and cardinal's hat are traditional attributes of the saint, but the birds perched dangerously above his bible are, like the architecture, purely decorative.

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More information

Bibliography

G. Bartrum, German Renaissance prints, 149, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)

Dimensions

Height: 235.000 mm
Width: 181.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1895-1-22-417 (Bartsch 57)

PPA82792

Gift of William Mitchell

Location

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