Saint Irene and Saint Sebastian – Musée des Beaux-Arts – Grenoble

The work was conceived as part of the Polyptych of Sant’Agostino, a majestic two-faced altarpiece commissioned by the Augustinian friars and realized in two phases by Perugino; this panel remained in the Church of the Augustinians until 1797, then it was moved to Paris following the Treaty of Tolentino. In 1811, by imperial decree, it was transferred to the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Grenoble, where it is still preserved.
The two characters are located in a hilly landscape that gently fades towards the horizon. Saint Sebastian is tied to the trunk of a tree, and his naked body is represented following the canons of classical statuary; it is pierced by a single arrow (probably added posthumously) and he is covered only by a red cloth hanging from its hips. To his right, Saint Irene turns to him, holding a tome and a small pincer clasping a tooth, a sign of her martyrdom, in her arms.
The sweet physiognomy of their faces, together with the composition of the figures that gives a sense of calm monumentality, create a feeling of harmony that pervades the whole work.
The work is preserved at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Grenoble.
Perugino, Saint Irene and Saint Sebastian, 1502/1512, oil on panel, 189 x 95 cm, Grenoble, Musée des Beaux-Arts