Saint Sebastian – Museu de Arte – San Paolo in Brazil

The work, dating back to the first decade of the sixteenth century, was acquired in 1947 by the Museu de Arte in San Paolo in Brazil, where it is currently located, and portrays a very common subject in Perugino’s production: Saint Sebastian tied to the column.
The young Christian soldier is depicted in the center of the scene, while the martyrdom is already going on: two arrows pierce respectively the chest and the right arm, but neither the serene expression of the face, turned upwards, nor the ideal features of the body, covered only by a cloth knotted on his hips, seem to suffer from any pain.
The scene takes place in an environment slightly raised by a step, and recalls the classical portico also represented in the Saint Sebastian now at the Louvre: the saint is in fact linked to a red porphyry column, while in the background two square pillars decorated with rich and complex grotesque motifs ending with simple but very projecting capitals support the round arches. Beyond a low balustrade decorated with rectangular motifs, a hilly landscape is interrupted only by the foliage of some trees. The mountains fade towards the horizon recreating the illusion of an infinite space as a result of aerial perspective.
The canvas is preserved at the Museu de Arte in San Paolo in Brazil.
Perugino, Saint Sebastian at the column, about 1500-1510, oil on canvas, 177×120 cm, São Paulo Do Brasil, Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand Doação [Gift] Cia. Antarctica Paulista S.A., 1947 MASP.00013 Foto [Photo] Isabella Matheus