have dealt with the story of the lion, and the images of penitence, on the
'Jerome in the Wilderness' page.
This painting shows
him in the familiar red robes of a cardinal, which he never was; there
were no cardinals in the fourth century. It was thought that Jerome's
rôle as a secretary to a Pope made him at least an honorary one. Even images
of Jerome in rags in the desert may have the red hat somewhere in the
painting - it would certainly be useful to keep the sun off.
Venetian paintings often go for a red cloak without the
cardinal's hat; but then, Venice had a love-hate relationship with
The model church is an familiar attribute, showing him as a doctor
of the church - I'm not sure why Jerome was singled out to carry this -
there were other doctors of the church after all.
The books are there to underline Jerome's scholarship.
In this image the other figure is Saint Augustine. As can be seen
from his face, Augustine didn't always see eye to eye with Jerome;
typically here, Jerome isn't taking the slightest notice.