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Van Dyck painted a huge number of portraits. Plots mythological and religious become the main themes of his paintings.
For two years he helped Rubens, which became the reason for such a strong influence on his painting so juicy manner inherent in the painter. Van Dyck constantly varied the images that were characteristic of Rubens. He was able to give each hero a very special, incredibly elegant look with individual features.
Initially, it seems that this painting is incredibly contrasted with such exquisite portraits of the master. Heroes have always been fully buttoned in costumes. But here Jerome’s body is half-naked.
The viewer does not feel the special life of the body of St. Jerome, unlike Rubens. We feel his concentration on only one task. The goal is to convey the thought as accurately as possible. The figure of Jerome conveys the passion of the soul that has escaped. The visualization of this is a bright red fabric that wraps around his body.
Even the open flesh at Dyke's bathtubs looks completely enclosed. It is protected by a very thin cover. All our attention is deliberately shifted to the impulse and fire that move a person.
The viewer gets the impression that Van Dyck himself does not want to look at Jerome’s nudity. The difference is that even dressed Rubens figures seem stripped.
The crumpled book pages at the bottom of the picture create the feeling that Jerome’s nudity is a kind of husk. All. What had to be dropped was already dropped. The soul is naked to the limit and tears out.
Rubens gave people the bodies of the gods of antiquity. Between the two artists there is a clear boundary between antiquity and Christianity. That is why, at first glance, identical images turn out to be so different upon closer examination.
Rubens Painting Three Graces