Great retable of San Benito el Real

Alonso Berruguete1526 - 1532

Museo Nacional de Escultura

Museo Nacional de Escultura
Valladolid, Spain

Saint Sebastian, a Roman army officer, was a martyr in Diocletian times after converting to Christianity. Probably tied to a column, he was shot with arrows until thought dead, but while dying, he was found by the Christian woman Irene that hides him and cured him. Still convalescing, he presents himself to the emperor to proclaim his faith and this last one orders his beating until he died Although during the Middle Ages it was common to represent Saint Sebastian dressed as a knight with bow and arrows, from the Quattrocento on, his image was the one of his first martyrdom. This is how we see him in this sculpture, with an adolescent body that tenses due to the intense pain, over a curved trunk to which he has been tied to receive the impact of the arrows, adopting a winding stance; even his golden locks fall in front following that same rhythm. In spite of the open mouth, his face is tinged with an expression that has more melancholy than pain. The perizonium was made on glued fabric superimposing it on the sculpture.


  • Title: Great retable of San Benito el Real
  • Creator Lifespan: 1489 - 1561
  • Creator Nationality: Spanish
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Toledo
  • Creator Birth Place: Paredes de Nava
  • Date Created: 1526 - 1532
  • place of origin: Monastery of San Benito el Real, Valladolid
  • Sculptor and painter: Alonso Berruguete
  • Physical Dimensions: w33 x h111 x d41 cm
  • Original Title: San Sebastian
  • Type: Sculpture
  • External Link: CERES

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