I have no idea if he thought he was going for some visual symmetry with Saint Jerome, or if his perception of the world was just a little skewed (I’ve never known an elderly scholar to be that ripped, after all), but there are DEFINITELY some problems with this lion.
First of all, he’s pissed. And why wouldn’t he be? He appears to be balding.
He looks just like the type of balding man who insists on keeping his long hair, as if the volume around his shoulders will distract from his bald, gleaming crown.*
Rather than being a saintly symbol for all that is noble in the animal kingdom, this lion falls much more into the ‘henchman’ category. Imagine you’re having a chat with Jerome and this lion sidles up behind him: there’s no way you’re going to screw with the guy.
In fact, he reminds of a specific henchman:
*Note to men: this does not work.