VITTORIA, Alessandro
(b. 1525, Trento, d. 1608, Venezia)

St Sebastian

1566
Bronze, height 54 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

In addition to portrait busts, stucco decorations for palaces and stone statues for churches, Vittoria produced a distinguished series of bronze statuettes of religious and mythological subjects, including thirteen known signed examples. St Sebastian is among the most successful of these statuettes.

The composition of St Sebastian depends on a life-size work in Istrian stone of 1563-64, commissioned from Vittoria by the Montefeltro family for the altar in San Francesco della Vigna, Venice. In the present bronze, Vittoria accentuated the length of the body and exaggerated its torsion. As the viewer moves around the sculpture, the smooth surfaces of the metal catch the light, emphasizing the fluid modeling of the male body and the precision of such details as locks of hair and tree bark.