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Saint Sebastian
Saint Sebastian - Sculpture Style Saint Sebastian - Saint Sebastian - Antiquités - Saint Sebastian
Ref : 111501
14 800 €
Period :
<= 16th century
Dimensions :
H. 21.26 inch
Sculpture  - Saint Sebastian <= 16th century - Saint Sebastian  - Saint Sebastian Antiquités - Saint Sebastian
Kolhammer & Mahringer Fine Arts

Specialised with sculptures and old master paintings

+43 676 4128888
Saint Sebastian

Michel Erhart
Constance around 1440/45 - after 1522 Ulm

Saint Sebastian
Around 1520
Lime wood carved
Polychrome set & gold-plated
Height 54 cm

St. Sebastian is depicted naked, wearing a typical golden loincloth and tied to a tree trunk. His wounds on his torso and legs are exposed; the arrows with which he was pierced are not preserved here. Sebastian served as an officer for Emperor Diocletian and was martyred for his Christian faith: he was tied to a tree where he was shot by numerical archers. Since he was thought to be dead, he was left behind; however, the arrows had not been able to kill him. A benefactress named Irene nursed him back to health; later, Sebastian again appeared before the emperor, who finally had him whipped to death and thrown into the Cloaca Maxima, Rome’s sewer. The nature of the martyrdom, as well as the marks left behind, place his martyrdom in the following of Christ.

The martyr’s youthful body is slightly bent, with his right hand held above his head and his left hand tied to the tree behind his back. Detailed curls frame his angular face with deep-set, almond-shaped eyes under straight eyebrow ridges, high cheekbones and a slightly smiling mouth. He looks to the side, almost enraptured. The almost emaciated body is accentuated by the tight-fitting loincloth. It is carried between the legs and flutters upwards in angular fold configurations, as if moved by a gust of wind.

The tightly curled hair, the facial physiognomy and the drapery allude to the late Gothic style of the Ulm School and in particular to the works of Michel Erhart. Probably trained in the Netherlands and on the Upper Rhine, he was first listed in the Ulm tax lists in 1469 and worked his way up to become the leading sculptor there until his death in 1522. The almost graceful pose can be compared with the figure of the youth in the highly significant Vanitas group in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (KHM, Kunstkammer, inv. no. 1). There is also a bust of a youth in the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is very similar to this figure in the elaboration of the hair and facial physiognomy (V&A, London, inv. no. 6994-1860).

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