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Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Head of Saint Jerome (c. 1661)

For Artwork in Focus we explore individual artworks, critiquing their style and discussing their socio-political context. Today we look at Head of Saint Jerome (c. 1661) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

About the Work

Title : Head of Saint Jerome
Artist : Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Year : c. 1661
Medium : Terracotta
Dimensions : 35.1 x 28.7 x 22.9 cm (13 13/16 x 11 5/16 x 9 in.)
Location : Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Head of Saint Jerome

According to the digital catalogue of the Harvard Art Museums :

“…The full-scale bozzetto for the head of Saint Jerome captures a more interior moment of religious meditation and penitence. Though Bernini made many such full-size head studies, this is the only one to survive, and his numerous revisions in the clay are descriptive of his use of these models to design his works.”

Saint Jerome is considered to have translated the bible into latin. Therefore, depictions of him in artworks of the 17th century in Europe were common.

Other Details

Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Head of Saint Jerome is housed in the Harvard Art Museums in Room 2520. It is part of the museum’s collection of European Art, 17th century. The work was bought by the Fogg Art Musuem in 1937.


To learn more about iconic artworks and their socio-political context, visit Artwork in Focus.

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