Jean Cox-Rearick related the present Saint Sebastian to a drawing in the Uffizi, Florence, which is also closely related to the Four Evangelists in the Capponi chapel. The drawing is a study for the figure of Saint Matthew in which the Evangelist has a pose similar to that of the present saint: arranged frontally with the body turned to the right, looking left and supporting the weight of the body on the left elbow, the torso partly covered by a cloak that allows it to be seen.
The present painting has been dated 1533, at a time when Bronzino was defining his own artistic personality following his assimilation of Pontormo's teachings. The present work has more opaque colours than Pontormo's, while the solid forms seem to be located in space in an immobile manner, both stylistic features characteristic of Bronzino. Brock suggested that the painting was an allegorical portrait.