Norms: The Saints Collection | Saint Jerome
Of all the stories of saints which I came across when first studying art history in my gap year, and re-encountered subsequently in my travels around some of the best of Europe’s art galleries, my favourite has always been Saint Jerome. Generally this is because in depictions of the Saint, Jerome is shown kindly tending to the paw of a lion (I am a Leo after all). So the legend goes, he tamed a lion because he had managed to remove a thorn from the poor Lion’s paw. On subsequent investigations, I have learned that this may not have been the legend of Saint Jerome at all, and that in actual fact, the same is said of Saint Gerasimus whose name is confusingly similar to the latin for Jerome, “Geronimus”. But Lion or otherwise, this kindly saint is also famous for being one of the most learned of all the famous figures of Christianity, and for the fact that in the course of his theologising, he was the first to translate the bible into Latin. For this reason the saint is likewise traditionally depicted surrounded by books and the other paraphernalia of study.
So in illustrating my latest Norm of the Norm Saints Collection, I have ensured that my Jerome Norm is accompanied by both the sad wounded lion, and the books and scrolls of study which are an ever constant in this Saint Norm’s life. His little study looks so cosy, I could quite happily take that lion’s place and spend a little time by Jerome Norm’s side, reading books and having my paws tended to. You can keep the thorn though.
This is likely to be the last Norm of the Norm Saints Collection for a while – after all, my new solo art exhibition at the Strand Gallery in London beckons in just over a week. But hopefully more will follow in the future, when the divine intervention of all the Norm saints inspires me…
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