Martyrdom of St Sebastian (1495) by Albrecht Durer

Martyrdom of St Sebastian - Albrecht Durer - 1495

Artwork Information

TitleMartyrdom of St Sebastian
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationBritish Museum, London, UK

About Martyrdom of St Sebastian

The “Martyrdom of St Sebastian” is a woodcut created by Albrecht Dürer in 1495, during the Northern Renaissance. This religious painting is part of the collection at the British Museum in London, United Kingdom.

In the artwork, St Sebastian is depicted as the focal point, tied to a tree in the foreground, and pierced by arrows, a common representation of his martyrdom. He is portrayed with a serene expression, a halo around his head, signifying his sainthood and spiritual focus despite the suffering. Surrounding him are his persecutors, including archers who have just released arrows and a figure preparing to shoot another arrow. The bleak landscape contributes to the somber mood of the scene, and all the figures are detailed with precise lines, a characteristic of woodcut prints from this period. Dürer’s mastery in capturing emotion and detail is evident in the expressions of the characters and the elaborate representations of clothing, nature, and surrounding architecture, which reflect the meticulous style of the Northern Renaissance.

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