Saint Sebastian, c. 1480-1490


Gift of Herschel V. Jones, 1926expand_more  P.10,951

Not on Viewexpand_more

Saint Sebastian was a third-century Christian martyr who was murdered during the Roman emperor Diocletian's persecution and attempted eradication of Christians living under his rule. As characteristic for this subject, Martin Schoengauer depicts Saint Sebastian tied to a tree and shot with arrows. Here, however, he depicts the bound and wounded Saint Sebastian with only the barest suggestion of setting, as was characteristic of his later work, when his designs became increasingly austere. In the absence of narrative details, the viewer is left to contemplate the saint's serene suffering and tortured body. Schongauer represents the male anatomy with impressive accuracy, while achieving a lovely combination of grace and monumentality in the figure.

Saint Sebastian
Artist Life
c. 1440/53–1491
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
B.VI.146, 59; L.V.280, 65
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.