Antique portrait of Saint Sebastian – Spanish School 17th Century Oil on Canvas
This 17th century painting of Saint Sebastian is a symbol of rebirth and strength, so current and powerful that has become a gay icon and still contributes to redefine the perception of the LGBTQ + community today to spread a message of freedom, self-affirmation and equality.
This wonderful full-length old master painting of Sebastian dating back to 17th Century is an outstanding example of the period known as “The Golden Age” of Spanish painting.
This oil on canvas painting, featuring a formidable texture and a skilful use of chiaroscuro is an antique portrait of San Sebastian in the moment of his martyrdom in the midst of a luxuriant natural landscape.
This baroque period painting represents St. Sebastian according to the classic iconography that inspired many artists starting from the Renaissance period.
Sebastian, executed by the emperor Diocletian for being a Christian, is here portrayed as a young and vigorous man, dressed only with a cloth surrounding his hips, tied to a tree and pierced by arrows shot by Roman soldiers.
But Sebastian survives the martyrdom, in fact his gaze is turned upwards, towards heaven, he looks healthy and and he’s even blushing a little. Furthermore, the bright red cloth, which the artist placed on the ground at the Saint’s feet, can be an omen of his survival communicated to us with an intense chromatic use. Red, the warm color par excellence that has always evoked vigor and life is inserted in the painting in which cold colors are predominant.
Sebastian doesn’ t seem to suffer but almost welcomes his punishment, this is how in sacred art Sebastian was turned into a symbol of beauty, strength and perseverance and he is considered the patron Saint against plagues and epidemics.
Probably painted with a life model due to its pose, this dramatic painting is striking for the skilful anatomical representation and the expression yielding yet heroic. Plus, the art of light and shadow effects makes this painting a masterpiece, characterized by rich deep colors, intense light and dark shadows.
This antique portrait is an artwork in very good overall condition considering age and use. The painting on canvas is stable and features saturated colors. It was professionally relined and its ancient original patina has been preserved. The rectangular oil on canvas painting is housed in a beautiful hand carved walnut and parcel gilt wood frame.
Saint Sebastian, who bravely accepts pain because he knows he will be reborn from it is in a way, like us! We have to accept our sorrows and move on. It is a symbol of rebirth as well as a Queer symbol. The story and iconography of Saint Sebastian have handed down to us for centuries has been received by the LGBTQ+ community so much that it has become a Gay icon.
Dimensions: Framed H.178, W. 127 cm, Unframed H.158, W. 108 cm