Silvestro dell'Aquila, circle of
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This sculpture is a fragment of what was probably originally a full length statue of St. Sebastian. Sculpted out of wood (then gessoed and painted), the the work presumably originally had arrows made of metal or wood. (Only the wounds, with delicate rivulets of blood painted below them, remain.) In the Golden Legend and other devotional texts, Sebastian is described as an older bearded man who was shot with so many arrows that he resembled a hedgehog. Here, as in many other representations of the saint in this period (ca. 1490-1500), he is shown as a muscular, beardless youth, with only a few arrows, his arms tied behind him and his head thrown back, eyes rolling upwards, in an ancient gesture of agony or ecstasy. The polychromy adds to the beauty of the youth, giving him coral lips and flushed cheeks, but also underlines the violence with three-dimensional drips of blood. The sculpture is currently housed in the museum of the Cenacolo del Fuligno in Florence. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.