Hendrick van Someren Portrait Painting - Portrait of Saint Jerome
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Hendrick van Someren
Portrait of Saint Jerome


Hendrick van Someren Dutch 1615 - 1684 Portrait of Saint Jerome Oil on canvas Image size: 19 x 16 inches Contemporary fruit wood frame Hendrick van Somer, (also referred to as van Someren or Enrico Fiammingo), was a Dutch artist, working during the golden age of Dutch painting in the 17th century. He was the pupil of the accomplished master Jusepe de Ribera and was strongly influenced by his master’s work. Little information has survived to provide a clear picture of Hendrick van Somer’s background but it seems that he was descended from a line of painters. According to Arnold Houbraken’s work, ‘The Great Theatre of Dutch Painters’ (published 1718-21), he was the grandson of Flemish painter Aert Mitjens and the son of Barend van Someren, a respectable painter of landscape and allegory. Barend van Someren is alleged to have sheltered the young Flemish painter Adriaen Brouwer after his flight from the workshop of van Hals. Hendrick van Somer studied in Naples in the workshop of the well-known Spanish painter Jusepe de Ribera. Ribera was the most successful pupil of the famous Caravaggio, the Italian master best known for his dramatic use of light and shadow and for his incredibly detailed use of naturalism. Ribera learnt from Caravaggio and in turn passed these stylistic elements onto his pupil van Somer. Van Somer was clearly a brilliant pupil who observed his master’s work carefully and Ribera’s influence is evident across the artist’s works, including this portrait. Indeed van Somer was so successful in emulating Ribera’s style that it seems that he may, on occasion, have attempted to pass off his own work as that of his teacher. Evidence of this can be seen in a painting, documented in the records of the Netherlands Institute of Art History (RKD) as ‘The Penitent St Jerome in the Desert’, which was signed with Ribera’s name, but has in recent years been attributed to van Somer. This intimate painting of a saint’s head appears to depict the bare-shouldered St. Jerome during his period of suffering in the desert. The subject of meditation and penitence seem to have interested the artist and he painted a work of very similar dimensions to this painting, which depicts the head of the penitent St. Peter. St. Jerome was painted a number of times by Ribera and, having studied his teacher’s depictions, van Somer also returned to the subject of the hermit saint again and again. The dramatic contrast of light and dark brings an emotional intensity to the piece as it serves to highlight the physical evidence of the man’s suffering. The rim of the saint’s eyes glint with tears and the weathered grooves and wrinkles of the old man’s face can be discerned clearly, shining brightly out of the shadows.


  • Artist
    Hendrick van Someren (1615 - 1684, Dutch)
  • Medium
  • Dimensions
    H 19 in. x W 16 in.H 48.26 cm x W 40.64 cm
  • Gallery Location
    London, GB
  • Reference Number
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