Remarkable sculpture | 7th Tiberius Auction
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Remarkable sculpture

7th Tiberius Auction

Remarkable sculpture

After Sale Price:  5.056

  • BTC: 0,31994368 ฿
  • USD: 5.258 $
  • GBP: 4.344 £
  • CNY: 39.563 ¥

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Remarkable sculpture
St. Sebastian
Tyrol/South Tyrol
Around 1500
Carved lime wood
Remains of the original polychromy
Height 70 cm

The naked figure of Saint Sebastian is depicted with a typical golden loincloth as well as a rare high hat and is tied to a tree trunk. His stigmata on arms, torso and legs are exposed, yet the arrows with which he was pierced are not preserved here. Sebastian served as an officer for Emperor Diocletian and was martyred for his Christian faith: he was tied to a tree where he was shot by numerical archers. Since he was thought to be dead, he was left behind; however, the arrows had not been able to kill him. A benefactress named Irene nursed him back to health; later, Sebastian again appeared before the emperor, who finally had him whipped to death and thrown into the Cloaca Maxima, Rome’s sewer. This manner of martyrdom as well as the marks left behind place his martyrdom in the following of Christ.

The youthful body of the martyr is slightly bent; his right hand is above his head and his left hand is tied to the tree behind his back. The most distinctive feature is the high hat, possibly representing a piece of armour. This hat is found especially in southern German/alpine depictions of St Sebastian of the Late Gothic period. His diligently carved curls are hidden underneath the headgear; his face with half-open eyes, high cheekbones, and a slightly open mouth looks upwards in rapture. In French Burgundy, similar sculptures were created with softly modelled bodies and close-fitting loincloths; however, the boyish figure of St Sebastian is also related to Donatello’s David (1444-46). Such examples of youthful physicality are found especially in Tuscan terracottas of St Sebastian, for example by the well-known early Italian Renaissance sculptor Matteo Civitali (1436-1501) of Lucca, from c. 1492 (National Gallery of Art Washington D.C., inv. no. 1943.4.76). These influences of the Italian early Renaissance spread northwards to the Alpine region of South Tyrol, where this charming sculpture was also created around 1500.

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