Matthijs Bril (Antwerp, 1550 – Rome, 1583).
Saint Jerome in the desert.
Matthaeus Bril known as the Younger was an excellent Flemish painter, active in Rome in the second half of the 16th century and brother of the more famous landscape painter Paul Bril.
His training takes place in Holland, at the school of the great Flemish landscape artists, such as Pieter Bruegel, to whom he undoubtedly links part of his style. Moving to Rome in 1575, he fit in well with the environment, gaining an excellent reputation as a draftsman and landscape painter.
Of his stay in Rome we know that he obtained many important positions, such as in the Gallery of Geographical Maps in the Vatican, in which he collaborates with Girolamo Muziano; we also find him in the Vatican Palace and in the Tower of the Winds, where his brother Paul works as his help.
From these reports, an evident predisposition of the painter towards the fresco technique is already outlined: in this work, on the other hand, we find him tested in the genre of oil painting, as per the Flemish tradition.
The saint has stripped off his cassock, and is accompanied by the lion, his typical attribute. The details of the body of St. Jerome, the skull and the lion’s expression reveal the exceptional quality of the painting; the landscape is described with a soft, delicate but very expressive brushstroke.
Bibl .: Carla Hendriks, Northern Landscapes on Roman walls: the frescoes by Matthijs and Paul Bril, Florence, Centro Di della Edifimi, 2003
Our reference: AF00335