Father’s day ponderings

Sunday 4 September 2005

My treat this morning: breakfast, then reading in bed — Henry Petroski’s The book on the bookshelf. He has a chapter about the development of private studies and how books were stored in them. His mention of pictures of Saint Jerome in his study sent me off to the big book of Albrecht Dürer.

Jerome (AD331-420), patron saint of librarians, was a frequent subject for Dürer. I’ve chosen an early woodcut from the year 1492 for dissection below. It does not have the brilliant perspective of his 1514 copper engraving, nor the wonderful human detail of his 1521 panel painting, but it has something else: a bed.

Jerome, who translated the bible into ordinary Latin, appears in the woodcut sitting at work in his study, which is smartly equipped in the style of the 1490s. As someone who spends much of his working time in a study, I am struck by similarities with my own setup.

Top section of woodcut print

Everyone who writes how-to books for home-based workers insists that the domestic and working parts of the house must be kept apart. Like me, St Jerome ignores this advice. His bed is in a chamber off the study, as is mine. And, like mine, Jerome’s study has a large window with a view to the street outside. You do need a distant view to relax the eyes.

Middle section of woodcut print

Jerome had to deal with both Greek and Hebrew on the desk at the same time. So do I, at times.

Bottom section of woodcut print

Legend has it that Jerome removed a thorn from the paw of a lion, and he was usually shown with one as a companion. Dürer got better at drawing lions later in his career. Pulling thorns from lion’s paws is a hard act to follow. I am happy with Midnight as a companion in my study.

filed under Me + Prints

comment on this article by private email

Search marquis-kyle.com.au

On Dickens's bookshelf
Father's night
Love wrapped
Writer's clock
Denis O'Donovan's library

Monthly archive
2021 A
2020 O A J J M A M F J
2019 D A J
2018 O S A J J M A M F J
2017 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2016 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2015 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2014 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2013 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2012 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2011 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2010 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2009 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2008 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2007 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2006 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2005 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2004 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2003 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2002 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2001 D N

Subject archive
The web
This site

About marking time


Contact me