Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saint Sebastian

Paul Troger (1698-1762),
Martyrium des heiligen Sebastian/The Martyrdom of St Sebastian (1754(?)),
Oil on canvas, 59,5 x 37 cm
Alte Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz

Paul Troger (1698-1762),
St Sebastian and the Women
c. 1746
Oil on canvas, 60 x 37 cm
Österreichische Galerie, Belvedere, Vienna

The second image refers to the legend that tells how Sebastian, Commander of the Praetorian Guard, was shot by archers on the orders of the emperor and later nursed back to health by the Christian Irene, widow of St Castulus the martyr. When he later continued to express his Christian faith, he was beaten to death,

Troger's Sebastian is not the youthful hero of Baroque paintings. He understood that the essence of Saint Sebastian's story resists sentimentalization

Troger became the favourite fresco painter of the Lower Austrian monasteries and Cathedrals such as Melk, Göttweig, Altenburg and Brixen.

As regards the first image above, if you enlarge it you can see the brushstrokes. It is a rather large file (5.4mB). I do not think that I have seen this painting before in the usual sources.

The remains asserted to be those of Sebastian are currently housed in Rome in the Basilica Apostolorum, built by Pope Damasus I in 367 on the site of the provisional tomb of St. Peter and Saint Paul.

The church, today called San Sebastiano fuori le mura, was rebuilt in the 1610s under the patronage of Scipione Borghese. The church now also houses the remains of other Roman martyrs such as St Fabian - see post below. Both saints of course also share the same feast day.

St Sebastian and St Fabian (1475-1500).
Oil and tempera on panel. 141.4 x 89.5 cm
The Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia

Jacopo Bassano also known as Jacopo da Ponte (1510 - 13 February 1592)
St Fabian, St Sebastian and St Roch (Between 1565 and 1568)
Oil on paper pasted on canvas. 57.5 x 45 cm
The Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia