Image Resources | Currently on View in Netherlandish Gallery
The subject of this painting derives from depictions of hermit saints such as Jerome and Anthony who retreated to the wilderness to lead lives of penance and prayer. In this work, a pious monk kneels before a crucifix outside his crude shelter in the hollow of a blasted tree.
The desolate landscape, with its jagged rocks, fires, shipwrecks, and ruined buildings, is symbolic of the sinful world. This type of infernal landscape owes a great deal to the works of Hieronymus Bosch and was probably painted by one of his best known imitators, Jan Wellens de Cocq.