The J. Paul Getty Museum

Saint Sebastian Tended by Saint Irene

Object Details

Title:

Saint Sebastian Tended by Saint Irene

Artist/Maker:

Vicente López y Portaña (Spanish, 1772 - 1850)

Culture:

Spanish

Date:

1795–1800

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Object Number:

2000.47

Dimensions:

78.7 × 64.5 cm (31 × 25 3/8 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Stanley Moss in honor of John Walsh

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Object Description

This painting illustrates the Roman widow Irene nursing Saint Sebastian back to health after he was discovered to be a Christian and shot with arrows by Roman archers. Writhing in pain, Saint Sebastian looks heavenward as Saint Irene pulls arrows from his pierced body. Vicente López y Portaña dynamically composed the figure of Sebastian, with one arm tied above his head and his other arm held by an attendant, in order to more clearly display the wounds on his upper body and to allude to the martyrdom of Christ. Sebastian's bent leg reveals the bleeding gash from which Irene has already removed one arrow. As she leans toward Sebastian's knee, she carefully pulls the saint's flesh in order to extract a second arrow. In the foreground, the depiction of the armor and weapons Sebastian wore as a military captain signals that this event occurred in ancient Rome.

López y Portaña's luscious palette and creamy application of paint contrast with the drama and emotion of this religious story. Like Andrea Lilio's Figures Tending to the Wounded Saint Sebastian, this painting differs from representations that show the Saint bound to a tree or pillar, moments after the attack.

Provenance
Provenance
-

Galería Caylus (Madrid, Spain)

- about 1995
1995 - 2000

Stanley Moss (Riverdale-on-the-Hudson, New York), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Tres siglos de pintura (1995)
  • Galería Caylus (Madrid), 1995
Del Gótico al Neoclasicismo: Exposicion Obras maestras de la Galería Caylus (1995)
  • Unknown, 1995
Bibliography
Bibliography

Gállego, Julián. "Maestros Españoles desde el siglo XV al XVIII." In Del Gótico al Neoclasicismo: Exposicion Obras Maestras de la Galería Caylus, exh. cat. (Salamanca: Caja Salamanca y Soria, 1995), pp. 15, 126-27, ill.

Gállego, Julian, ed. Tres siglos de pintura, exh. cat. (Madrid: Caylus, 1995), pp. 220-23, ill., entry by Santiago Alcolea Blanch.

Díez, José Luis. Vicente López (1772-1850). 2 vols. (Madrid: Fundación de Apoyo a la Historia de arte Hispanico, ONO, 1999), vol. 1, pp. 268-69, 271, no. 276, ill.

Díez, José Luis. Vicente López (1772-1850). 2 vols. (Madrid: Fundación de Apoyo a la Historia de arte Hispanico, ONO, 1999), vol. 2, pp. 63-64, 344, under D-275; p. 551, ill.