Sunday, 25 October 2009

sacred and profane

Dürer's Saint Jerome in his Study has often been interpreted in conjunction with two other master engravings (Meisterstiche) by the artist, also from 1513-14- Knight, Death and the Devil (1513; AMAM inv. 44.29), and Melencolia (1514)--and viewed especially as a spiritual (if not formal) pendant to the latter work.

Weber suggested that the Saint Jerome and Melencolia corresponded to the traditional scholastic divisions of secular and divine knowledge; and that Saint Jerome, who consciously relinquished the former for the latter, was the perfect example of divinely inspired erudition. Panofsky further contrasted the brooding angst and disordered surroundings of the tormented genius in Melencolia with the peaceful diligence and ordered efficiency of Saint Jerome; the Saint Jerome "opposes a life in the service of God to what may be called [in the Melencolia] a life in competition with God."

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