The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian

Object Details

Title:

The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian

Artist/Maker(s):

Simon Bening (Flemish, about 1483 - 1561)

Culture:

Flemish

Place(s):

Bruges, Belgium (Place created)

Date:

about 1535 - 1540

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold paint, and ink on parchment

Dimensions:

Leaf: 13.7 x 10 cm (5 3/8 x 3 15/16 in.)

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This leaf from the Munich-Montserrat Hours depicts the first attempt to kill Saint Sebastian. The emperor Diocletian, who ordered the saint's execution, watches from horseback as his soldiers mercilessly shoot arrows at Sebastian. Although the saint miraculously survived the ordeal, he was eventually beaten to death. The saint's stance here–tied to a column and defenseless–purposefully recalls traditional images of Christ's flagellation, when Jesus was tied to a column and beaten.

The detailed yet expansive landscape seen in the background was one of the hallmarks of Simon Bening's late style.

Related Works
Exhibitions
Flemish Manuscript Illumination: 1450 - 1550 (April 16 to June 30, 1985)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), April 16 to June 30, 1985
Illuminated Flemish Manuscripts of the Late Middle Ages (July 26 to October 16, 1988)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 26 to October 16, 1988
Recent Acquisitions of Illuminated Manuscripts, 1984-1989 (July 17 to September 30, 1989)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 17 to September 30, 1989
From Memling to Pourbus (August 14 to October 25, 1998)
  • De Stedelijke Musea Van Brugge, (Bruges), August 14 to October 25, 1998
Flemish Illumination of the Late Middle Ages (November 3, 1998 to January 17, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 3, 1998 to January 17, 1999
Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe (June 17, 2003 to February 22, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 17 to September 7, 2003
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), November 29, 2003 to February 22, 2004
Illuminated Manuscripts from Belgium and the Netherlands (August 24, 2010 to February 6, 2011)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 24, 2010 to February 6, 2011