Carpaccio painted in 1502. The picture depicts an episode in which a lion wandered into the monastery of St. Jerome is lame because of a splinter in his paw, - Carpaccio shows a lion standing on three legs and with a muzzle distorted from pain. The monks fled in panic, but Jerome affectionately received the beast, healed him and tamed it to perform useful work. The sanctity and safety of the monastery are conveyed in the painting by the presence of quiet and harmless creatures, such as fallow deer and pheasant. The figures in the turbans are probably an allusion to the wars that Venice waged with the Ottoman Turks; like a fierce lion, the Turks can be reconciled and introduced into a civilized framework by the power of the Christian faith.
ST JEROME. Jerome was one of the four Fathers of the Catholic Church along with Saints Ambrose, Augustine and Gregory the Great. In the XV century. Jerome was often portrayed as an old recluse in the desert, praying before a crucifix or banging a stone on his chest, wearing a cardinal hat, with a lion roaming nearby, as Cosimo Tupa portrayed him (d. 1495).