How does the painting "St Jerome in the Wilderness" by Leonardo da Vinci show humanism?I am having some trouble depicting how it can show humanism, and I have to know for a thesis...

How does the painting "St Jerome in the Wilderness" by Leonardo da Vinci show humanism?

I am having some trouble depicting how it can show humanism, and I have to know for a thesis statement/outline for a paper.

Asked on by el1t3mus1c

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James Kelley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

You'll probably want to start your thinking about the relation between humanism and Da Vinci's painting "St. Jerome in the Wilderness" by defining the term humanism.

You might have trouble with a definition of the term that includes the notion of rejecting religion, for example, as this painting is about a saint, shows a church, etc. You might have better luck with a definition that shows a new focus on and valuing of the human (perhaps in contrast to a medieval view of humanity as sinful and of religion as more important than the individuals who follow it).

What I see in the painting, when I think about it, seems to fit that second definition pretty well. The man is in the center; the painting's all about him, and he's rendered in very high anatomical detail. These details (e.g. the shoulder muscles and the wrinkles) seem to suggest both strength and vulnerabilitly. In comparison to the man, the church and crucifix are distant and faintly sketched. He seems to be attached or drawn to them, but he is himself the subject of the painting. 

A great idea for a paper might to set up a comparison-and-contrast between this paiinting and a painting from the medieval period, one showing an enormous church or altar and small, less distinctively drawn humans. You might find the right painting to use in the medieval-church-art link below.

I hope that these comments are helpful.

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