Anthonie van Dyck was no more than an adolescent when he painted this life-sized Jerome. He based the composition largely on a work by his teacher Peter Paul Rubens and copied some of the details almost literally, such as the lion. Nevertheless, Van Dyck tried to move away from his mentor’s style and technique. Rubens’ paintings of that period are smooth, with enamel-like surfaces. Van Dyck, however, applied his paint with wide, uneven brushstrokes. He would render an arm or a leg with just a few self-assured dashes of paint, as if he were making an oil sketch. Jerome’s deeply lined, red face, which forms a strong contrast to his pale body, suggests that Van Dyck was working from a model. Jerome appears in several of his paintings from around 1615-1618. One of the four Church Fathers, Jerome was an erudite scholar, renowned for his Latin translation of the Bible. The angel proffering a quill signifies that his writings were the fruits of divine inspiration. Jerome once removed a thorn from a lion’s paw, after which the lion became his constant companion.