ANTONELLO da Messina
(b. ca. 1430, Messina, d 1479, Messina)

St Sebastian

Oil on canvas transferred from panel, 171 x 86 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

This is a late work of Antonello showing Venetian influences. In the background typical Venetian buildings are depicted.

Antonello's Saint Sebastian is an appealing picture which offers a wide range of visual stimuli. Seemingly oblivious to the arrows which pierce his body, the young Saint Sebastian is tethered to a tree, partially nude and in discreet contrapposto. The vanishing point is low on the horizon, so that the recession into space is sudden, if not dramatic, emphasized by the foreshortened column fragment in the right foreground.