The Apparition to St Petronius of the Virgin and Child with St Sebastian
Mantua, 1605, published by Andrea Andreani (c. 1560-1623)
385 x 295 mm
According to Christian legend St Sebastian was sentenced to death for his faith by the Roman emperor Diocletian. A solitary arrow is the only indication of his painful persecution. His otherwise unharmed and athletic body is portrayed in a relaxed pose reminiscent of classical sculptures. St Sebastian’s nudity was considered appropriate by Renaissance society because it was part of the religious narrative. However, in the 17th century the Catholic Church criticised these images for their sexuality and homoeroticism. Andreani purchased Ugo’s original woodcut blocks from the 1520s and republished them.
Purchased 1939 (No.39.2)