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St. Sebastian

A work made of engraving on paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of engraving on paper.




Martin Schongauer
German, c. 1430/50-1491

About this artwork

The opportunity it offered to show a seminude man in a contorted pose made Saint Sebastian’s martyrdom a popular subject among 15th-century artists. Here the German printmaker Martin Schongauer depicted the saint leaning serenely against a delicately rendered tree, despite the numerous arrows protruding from his body. Schongauer took an iconic, simplified approach to this common theme by barely suggesting the background landscape. Unlike his highly complex, detailed compositions such as Saint John the Evangelist on Patmos (1968.121), this print emphasizes the contrast between the graceful figure of Sebastian bound to the tree and the predominantly blank background.


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Prints and Drawings


Martin Schongauer


St. Sebastian


Germany (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Engraving on paper


Sheet trimmed to platemark: 15.4 × 11.1 cm (6 1/8 × 4 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Clarence Buckingham Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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