Paula Rego, Study for the figure of St Jerome in 'Time - Past and Present', a graphite drawing

England, AD 1990-1

From a painting in the National Gallery, London

Paula Rego (born 1935) is best known for her large figurative works, in which she often explores ideas and emotions through stories. In 1990 she was appointed Associate Artist at the National Gallery, for which she was required to make works based on paintings in the Gallery.

Time - Past and Present (Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon), is the third in the sequence of paintings that she made during this period. It was inspired not only by one of Rego's own stories, in which a little girl from the sea eats sailors, but also by Antonello de Messina's Saint Jerome in his Study (1460-65). In Rego's painting St Jerome, the old man in the centre, sits lost in thought while a child before him draws. According to Rego, he is 'sitting in the room with all his memories. Some of his memories are taken from pictures in the National Gallery, and some of them are made up.' In this line drawing Rego develops the pose of the saint and focuses on the detail of subject's face and hands.

Drawing plays a vital role in Rego's work. Since childhood (in Portugal), she has produced imaginative drawings, which she continues to find useful as a spontaneous method of developing ideas.

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Paula Rego, Study for the figure of St Jerome in 'Time - Past and Present', a graphite drawing

© 2000 Paula Rego


More information


, Paula Rego: tales from the Nat, exh. cat. (National Gallery, London, 1991)

F. Bradley and others, Paula Rego: a retrospective, exh. cat. (Tate Gallery, London, 1997)

J. McEwen, Paula Rego (London, Phaidon, 1993)


Height: 420.000 mm
Width: 296.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1992-12-12-2



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