Patron Saint of Plague

Hans Holbein the Elder, St Sebastian Altarpiece, 1516

By Alte Pinakothek, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

Alte Pinakothek, Bavarian State Painting Collections

St Sebastian Altarpiece: The Martyrdom of St Sebastian (1516) by Hans Holbein the ElderOriginal Source: Object in the Online-Collection of the Pinakotheken

Sebastian, the leader of a cohort under Emperor Diocletian, was condemned to death as a Christian, tied to a post and pierced with arrows.

He survived and continued to denounce the persecution of Christians.

Ultimately he was beaten to death and his body thrown into the sewers in Rome - shown in the background on the central panel, the landscape continuing onto the side panels.

St Sebastian Altarpiece (1516/1516) by Hans Holbein the ElderAlte Pinakothek, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

St Sebastian Altarpiece: Left wing: St Barbara (1516) by Hans Holbein the ElderOriginal Source: Object in the Online-Collection of the Pinakotheken

Here the saints Barbara and Elizabeth are shown in niches from classical antiquity.

St Sebastian Altarpiece: The Martyrdom of St Sebastian (1516) by Hans Holbein the ElderOriginal Source: Object in the Online-Collection of the Pinakotheken

Especially Sebastian was venerated as the patron saint of plague victims.

Holbein’s adoption of the stylistic means and motifs of the Renaissance is masterful.

St Sebastian Altarpiece: Left wing: St Barbara (1516) by Hans Holbein the ElderOriginal Source: Object in the Online-Collection of the Pinakotheken

Large figures close up,…

St Sebastian Altarpiece (1516/1516) by Hans Holbein the ElderAlte Pinakothek, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

The original location of the winged altarpiece is still unknown today.

Credits: Story

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