Representations of the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian are abundant in both European and Indo-Portuguese art. Born in the 3rd century in Gaul (Narbonne), Saint Sebastian was a Roman centurion who converted to Christianity and was thus persecuted during the reign of Emperor Diocletian. Shot with arrows and given up for dead, he was taken to be buried by Saint Irene who, realizing that he was still alive, healed him. After recovering from his multiple wounds he was once again brought before the Emperor, only to be martyred again.
This image of Saint Sebastian is done in an 18th century style, with Italianate features. The anatomically well-proportioned Saint Sebastian is shown in the usual pose, tied by his arms to a tree at the moment of being pierced by arrows.