Venipedia

In San Girolamo - one of the patron saints of the School of San Fantin, today the Ateneo Veneto - towards the end of the sixteenth century Jacopo Palma the Younger dedicated a pictorial cycle made up of eight scenes representing the life of the Saint; of these eight paintings, today two are scattered, four are kept in the church of San Giorgio delle Pertiche in Padua, one is visible inside the church of San Girolamo while one is deposited in the Gallerie dell'Accademia.

In particular, the canvas depicting Saint Jerome who medicates the lion's paw represents a curious legend that narrates the immense benevolence of the Saint towards animals: in front of the unexpected appearance of a suffering lion, instead of running away from the convent in terror as his brothers, he remains calm waiting to understand what the feline wants to do, confident that he is not approaching with malicious intent.

Precisely in the serenity of the Saint, the lion finds a sort of welcome and entrusts himself to San Girolamo by placing the imposing paw on his lap, letting him calmly and gently control the aching limb due to a thorn stuck deep. With immense care and attention the Saint extracts it, then letting the grateful lion go on its way.

Today the work of Jacopo Palma the Younger dedicated to this legend is located in the church of San Giorgio delle Pertiche, while until 1846 it was part of the decorations in the sala dell'Albergo, today the Ateneo Veneto Library.

The story of the saint was represented by various artists, including Vittore Carpaccio, who painted it for the Dalmatian School of Saints George and Trifone called the School of San Giorgio degli Schiavoni. The works of Carpaccio and Palma the Younger, although with some differences, show remarkable similarities in the representation of the lion's entry into the convent and the escape of the monks from the place of prayer.

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