"The Martyrdom of San Sebastián."
French School of the 17th century.
Dimension: 30 cm x 56 cm
Wood carved frame, 17th century style, 19th century, gold-plated
Description of the painting:
Sebastian is a Roman martyr who lived, according to tradition, in the third century. It is celebrated on January 20 in the West and December 18 in the East.
Born in Narbonne, Gaul, Sébastien is a citizen of Milan, Italy. A career military man, he is very fond of the emperors Diocletian and Maximian Hercules, who call him a centurion. In a context of persecutions against Christians, however, he is executed by order of the sovereigns for having supported his fellow believers in their faith and performed many miracles. First tied to a post and pierced with arrows, he is finally killed with a rod (a corporal punishment instrument consisting of a flexible wand or a handful of twigs) after having miraculously healed the first time.
Boss of archers, infantrymen and policemen but also third boss of Rome (with Pierre and Paul), Saint Sebastian is especially invoked to fight against plague and epidemics in general. Often represented in the arts, he became a homoerotic symbol in the Renaissance before being considered a homosexual icon from the nineteenth century.
The scene takes place in ancient temple ruins, San Sebastian being an Italian citizen.
Saint Sebastian is at the center of this scene, but it is not by him that our eye is first attracted.
Indeed, our eyes are rather attracted by all these characters who are around San Sebastian. Soldiers, the "executioners" of San Sebastian, who are archers, spectators, men with horses (maybe the sponsors?).
In the foreground, we see very clearly the faces of the characters, their colorful clothes, their horses. Everything is done with perfect mastery.
In the background, although the characters are more distant, the realization of his last is perfectly clear and built.
The background of the city shows us that the scene could happen in Italy.
The fact that Saint Sebastian is in the center of the stage and that there is height of the ruins, characters, accentuates the perspective of the painting which is here remarkably realized.
Note that all characters are turned to San Sebastian. One person turns his head and looks in another direction ...