DÜRER, Albrecht
(b. 1471, Nürnberg, d. 1528, Nürnberg)

Portrait of St Sebastian with an Arrow

c. 1499
Oil on panel, 52 x 40 cm
Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

This primitive portrait has been partially repainted and transformed into a Saint Sebastian with a large halo. Originally, the man wore a beret and held a broken arrow in his left hand, which rests on the window sill, as you can still see today. In the whole painting, only the landscape passage with the lake and the castle in front of the mountains have remained in its original state. The arrow is a fairly rare attribute for a portrait, although, in this case, it could become credible if Sebastian Imhoff were the person portrayed, as Thode had previously proposed when the painting was first published in 1893. Sebastian Imhoff was elected to the position of consul of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice in 1493.

The painting shows many Dürerian portrait characteristics of this era, such as the landscape beyond the window and the resting of the hands in the window sill; the minimum of space between the window sill and the back wall; and the curtain that partially covers it.