St. Sebastian (c. 1618) by Peter Paul Rubens


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Artwork Information

TitleSt. Sebastian
ArtistPeter Paul Rubens
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions200 x 120 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationGemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany
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About St. Sebastian

Peter Paul Rubens’ painting of St. Sebastian is a religious artwork created around 1614. The piece depicts the Christian martyr tied to a tree and pierced with arrows, which became the saint’s symbol. Rubens studied Michelangelo and Flemish Mannerism in his early days, evident by how he incorporated classical ancient art, Mantegna, and Titian into his pieces.

Rubens spent eight years in Italy where he gained inspiration for his work. This influence is visible in the sculpture-like quality of St. Sebastian’s figure, giving him a corporeal appearance that emphasizes movement and sensuality, characteristic of Rubens’ style. The painting is located at Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.

Rubens was a Flemish Baroque painter who was known for creating religious and mythological compositions as well as portraits during his life span (1577-1640). He had been born into a Protestant family in the Spanish Netherlands, which later became Belgium after his death. His works always showcased an emphasis on color resulting from bright palette choices but this work features darker colors instead.

Rubens remains one of the most influential artists of the Flemish Baroque era due to his unique style characterized by bold brushwork techniques that emphasized movement, sensuality, and color while blending elements from Michelangelo’s David or Dying Slave with Titian’s Bellini altarpiece triptych called “Transfiguration”.

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