Saint Jerome as Cardinal

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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Once mistaken for a portrait of a cardinal, this painting in fact shows Saint Jerome dressed in cardinal’s robes. He was often painted this way as recognition of his high status in the Catholic Church, even though the office did not exist during his lifetime. His major achievement was to translate the Bible into Latin. Here he points to this great work, staring into the distance, his thumb marking his place.

El Greco and his studio painted several versions of this image. This version, which is on a smaller scale than the others and now quite worn, is of inferior quality and may have been made as a reduced copy to show to prospective patrons.

The National Gallery, London



Saint Jerome as Cardinal




Oil on canvas


H 59 x W 48 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bought, 1882

Work type



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The National Gallery, London

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