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Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian


Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian

Author: Unknown

Date: 16th century, 2nd half

Material: Plaster and pigments

Dimensions (cm): H 171 x W 155

Provenance: Ponte da Barca, Igreja de São Salvador de Bravães

Inventory No.: MAS PD 4

Saint Sebastian is tied to a tree with the body pierced with arrows, surrounded by two archers that are about to throw new arrows.

Painted on the front left wall of the nave of the church, this representation of the Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian was over another fresco painting on the same theme.

As mentioned by Paula Bessa, this mural painting and the one representing the Holy Family (MAS PD 3) were detached from the walls that flank the triumphal arch of the Igreja de São Salvador de Bravães in the 1930s. They may have been made by the same workshop and they were executed over the previous paintings – that remain in situ – depicting the Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian and Our Lady with the Child. That is to say, the execution of these new paintings corresponds, most likely, to a change in taste and to the manifestation of new forms of devotion.

These paintings, in which one can see the taste for movement and for the rotundity of shapes, are, very likely, manifestations of an already mannerist and post-Tridentine aesthetics.