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Saint Sebastian after the model by Guido Reni - Rome 17th century
Saint Sebastian after the model by Guido Reni - Rome 17th century - Religious Antiques Style Renaissance Saint Sebastian after the model by Guido Reni - Rome 17th century -
Ref : 111277
6 500 €
Period :
17th century
Provenance :
Medium :
Dimensions :
l. 7.09 inch X H. 10.94 inch
Religious Antiques  - Saint Sebastian after the model by Guido Reni - Rome 17th century
Dei Bardi Art

Sculptures and works of art from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance

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Saint Sebastian after the model by Guido Reni - Rome 17th century

Large Cast and Chiseled Bronze Plaque
Saint Sebastian after the model by Guido Reni (Capitoline Museum)
Rome, 17th century
27,8 x 18 cm

Large rectangular bronze plaque depicting the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian within a quadrilobe frame. The background of the plaque is adorned with relief flowers, garlands, and torches in the ancient style.
Inspired by the famous martyrdom of Saint Sebastian by Guido Reni, preserved in the Capitoline Museum in Rome, the nimbed saint appears with his wrists tied above his head to a tree trunk, covered with drapery around his loins; his face slightly tilted towards his shoulder, eyes to the sky.
The shots have begun and his young flesh is pierced by three arrows: one on the left, on his right side, at the level of the ribs, one below the left armpit, piercing his lung; an additional arrow pierces the abdomen of the Saint, just below the navel (as in the Capitoline version).
The ambiguous attitude of the martyr is confusing. Pierced by arrows, he does not seem to be in a state of suffering. With his mouth slightly open and his gaze turned towards the sky, he seems to almost betray a moment of pure ecstasy.
Guido Reni painted the Saint as a martyr seven times.
As in our plaque, the Saint Sebastian of Genoa (and the one almost identical with a few details from the Capitoline Museum) presents a tight framing at the level of the torso of the youth, who has his hands tied above his head, which forces the saint into some contortions of the spine: the thorax is then projected forward, and the back shows a delicate curvature. The extension of his body highlights, under a smooth modeling, the muscles of the arms and torso as well as the ribs. The perizonium seems to slide along the hips, ready to unravel or fall to the ground.
A religious subject, it takes on secular dimensions. Nudity, with its dual dimension of eroticism and Beauty, reinvigorates the gaze.
Perpetuating the cult of beauty and grace despite the violence of the subject, the scene, devoid of vulgarity, is imbued with poetry and gentleness. The elegant figure of the Saint with pure lines conforms to a classical ideal canon (almost childlike face, curly hair, displayed sensuality).
Enlisted in Rome at the end of the 3rd century, Sebastian, captain of the Praetorian Guard of Emperor Diocletian, protected persecuted Christians. He was then tied to a pole and pierced with arrows from which he miraculously recovered. He returned to the imperial palace and reproached Diocletian for his attitude towards Christians. He was then beaten with rods and his body was thrown into the sewers so as not to be venerated by Christians. The account of his martyrdom made him one of the patron saints of the early Christian churches. He is also considered the patron saint of soldiers in general but is primarily the saint protector against the plague and more broadly the protector against epidemics.
Plaques were among the objects often found in the environment of the studiolo and the cabinet of curiosities, alongside other small forms such as classical coins and engraved gems. The artists who created them were generally bronze sculptors, also creating small figurines and objects such as inkwells, or goldsmiths, who often worked in the related field of engraving. They were relatively inexpensive and portable, and quickly spread widely in Europe, offering artists the opportunity to showcase their virtuosity and sophistication, and to promote themselves beyond their own city.
Plaques, like prints, played an important role in the dissemination of styles and trends in iconography, especially for classical subjects. Some drawings for plaque models have survived; others copied prints, book illustrations, and designs in other media, including engraved gems and classical sculptures.

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