Saint Jerome and Saint Catherine of Alexandria, a fifteenth-century panel which has never been on view in a museum has been given on long-term loan to Rijksmuseum last week by the Broere Charitable Foundation. The panel was painted between 1480 and 1490 in Bruges or Brussels and shows Saint Jerome and Saint Catherine of Alexandria seated behind a gilded arcade, with a panoramic landscape in the background. This highly detailed painting is of high quality and in good condition.
Information from the Rijksmuseum, 2 August 2018
Jerome and Catherine are seated in a garden on a turf bench in front of a rose hedge. Jerome is accompanied by the lion. At Catherine’s feet lies a smouldering, broken wooden wheel, and beside her, a sword: both are symbols of her martyrdom. The princess Catharine was a role-model for wealthy, courtly women and she is shown as such in the painting. Her hair is shaven high on her forehead in accordance with the fashion of the time, and she wears a silk fur-lined robe. The precious heart-shaped book she holds probably contains secular love songs.
The unknown artist worked after the style of the Brussels painter Rogier van der Weyden. The tracery and the figure of Jerome are reminiscent of paintings by Van der Weyden, and Catherine’s hands and heart-shaped book recall two portraits by the Master of the View of Saint Gudule, who was active in Brussels. In the foreground, plants including the wood violet, dandelion and columbine are painted very true to life. In the background is a panoramic landscape featuring Late Gothic buildings, a pond with two swans and, in the distance, the contours of a city and mountains beyond.