Offered by Franck Baptiste Paris
16th to 19th century furniture and works of art
The martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, Bologna School circa 1600-1620
Important oil on canvas of rectangular shape representing the sagittation of Saint Sebastian. The young man is almost naked, only dressed in a perizonium; he is tied by his two handles to a dead tree, while his feet are free.
The young man is almost naked, only dressed in a perizonium; He is tied by his two handles to a dead tree, while his feet are free.
Under the impact of the six arrows that just hit him, his feet have slipped away and he is now only held by his hand.
A tear beads on his worried face staring at the executioner who is about to give him death. His helmet and his centurion’s outfit are lying in front of him.
Nice state of conservation, small restorations of use, old lining, with canvases sewn together, dating from the end of the 17th or the beginning of the 18th century.
Unframed, painting probably originally included in the architecture of a chapel.
Oil on canvas, Bologna School circa 1600-1620.
Our work left the Italian territory in an official way, with a certificate of export of the fine arts, after a study of more than one year.
Our view :
Our canvas of format in the natural represents the sagittation of Saint Sebastian.
It is the work of one of the disciples of the Carracci brothers and Guido Reni, the very sensual body of the young martyr and the touch of mannerism still influenced by the canons of the Renaissance are indeed characteristic of the productions of the Bologna school which was the epicenter of classical painting in Europe in the 17th century.
The graceful contortion of the body, the swift movement of the arms and the minimalist version of the perizonium are inspired by the St. Sebastian made around 1600 by Ludovico Carracci, which is kept at the Santomasi Foundation, and by the St. Sebastian of his brother Annibal, which was part of the collections of the French crown.
Our artist draws from the first work for the facial features and the slightly ecstatic expression despite these dramatic circumstances.
We also find a very expressive face and particularly close on the St. Sebastian of Guido Reni made around 1615 and kept in the Prado Museum.
But it is well the composition of Annibal which influences the most our painter, same dead tree, same way of making the sky, the bottom...
However if the first inspiration of our painting is clearly Bolognese, it undergoes a second "Caravaggio" contribution just as important.
Indeed if the architecture remains the same, the result is more realistic and shows us in details the horror of the scene without sparing us.
To do this, our painter removes the daylight and plunges us into the darkness of a chiaroscuro, with an oblique line between light and shadow, starting from the upper left corner to the helmet at the bottom right, which is reversed from Carracci's composition.
He also makes the background characters disappear to give us a silent tête-à-tête with the subject.
The posture with the arms in the air remains also close, but it confronts us more with the pain, with this body almost suspended and its red hands asphyxiated by the cord which cuts the flesh.
The blood is very present, unlike the mannerist works, to remind us of the brutality of the scene.
But it is the moment chosen that calls out the most, the one where the young martyr receives the last arrow that will take his life, and this look that is not directed towards the sky but towards the spectator, which places him in the skin of the executioner.
Yet the eyes of the young victim do not show anger or fear, but rather sadness and incomprehension in the face of such violence.
This temporality which is that of the frightened doe which understands that it does not have any more exit, this discomfort of the spectator who is transformed one moment into assassin and this questioning on the thoughts of the martyrdom make of our painting a particularly moving work.
It incorporates the light and brutality of Caravaggio, the softness and grace of the Carracci brothers and the expression of feelings of Guido Reni.
Even if several names were evoked by Italian specialists, such as those of Lionnelo Spada (Bologna 1576 - Parme 1622) or Bartolomeo Schedoni (Model 1578 - Parme 1615) we could not attribute our work with certainty in spite of a rather long study.
Price : on request