Marco Palmezzano, St. Jerome and St. Ambrose (?)

Marco Palmezzano,
St. Jerome and St. Ambrose (?)

A recent restoration revealed that the two paintings, in addition to being similar in size, also present similar grains in the wood, justifying the hypothesis that they were part of the same complex.

We cannot know if they were originally full-length or half-length figures when Marcello Oretti saw them in 1777 in the sacristy of the church of St. Augustine. The figure in the red cap with the white gown, captured reading the book of Sacred Scriptures, has been identified as St. Jerome. The other figure with the pastoral staff, book, white mitre and richly decorated cope has been interpreted in various ways: as a Doctor of the Church, as St. Augustine, or as St. Ambrose.

In these two paintings the influence of Venetian painting, and in particular Bellini, is evident: a light from above illuminates and exalts the faces of the two saints. Someone has also hypothesised that these two paintings, together with those of St. Augustine and the Archangel, were part of a single Augustinian altar piece, while others maintain they were part of a different one.

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