Bugiardini, Giuliano

Saint Sebastian

circa 1517-1520

Place Made
Italy: Florence
Oil on canvas
framed: 77 1/2 x 54 x 5 1/2 in (196.85 x 137.16 x 13.97 cm)
Credit Line
The Samuel H. Kress Collection
Accession #

The subject of St. Sebastian was common during the Renaissance. A Roman soldier who suffered torture for his Christian faith under the emperor Diocletian, Sebastian recovered from his wounds. In later centuries, he was invoked against the plague. The tradition of depicting Sebastian nude offered artists the opportunity to meditate upon real and ideal human form, the arrows becoming almost ornamental. As such, Sebastian celebrates beauty as a manifestation of the divine.