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Saint Sebastian. Oil painting by Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz (Painter in Castile), fl. before 1508.


Free to use with attribution CC BYCredit: Wellcome Collection
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Saint Sebastian, depicted as a young man with a halo, wearing a white loincloth. His hands and feet are tied to the trunk of a tree. Fourteen arrows are fixed in his body. Eight of them were at one time painted over, leaving only six visible: the overpainted arrows were revealed when the painting was cleaned in 1966. A comparable change occurred in a painting of Saints Fabian and Sebastian by Giovanni di Paolo in the National Gallery, London, in which six arrows were visible in Saint Sebastian's body before cleaning, and twenty after cleaning (D. Bomford and J. Kirby, 'Giovanni di Paolo's "SS. Fabian and Sebastian"' National Gallery Technical bulletin, 1978, 2: 56-65)

Physical description

1 painting : oil on wood ; wood 99.5 x 46 cm (painted area) 111 x 46 cm (wood), 135 x 57 cm (including integral frame)


Two similar paintings of Saint Roch and Saint Sebastian, with a similar canopy on the frame, were included in the altarpiece of the chapel of Saint Cabras (Caprasius) in the church of San Miguel, Tarazona, western Aragon, where they formed the left and right extremities of the lower register of the altarpiece. The altarpiece is attributed to Prudencio and Juan de la Puente, and is documented as having been completed on 3 October 1533. The photograph of the Tarazona altarpiece in situ suggests the original context and arangement of the present pair of paintings: see Chandler Rathfon Post, A history of Spanish painting, 2nd ed., New York 1976,vol. XIII, pp. 198-9, fig. 78. Three other panels from the Tarazona altarpiece were offered for sale at Sotheby's, London, 6 July 2006, lot 135 (with the reference to Post)


Wellcome Library no. 44843i

Creator/production credits

Attributed by E. Young (loc. cit.) to the Castilian painter Santa Cruz (whose forename is unknown). According to Young (p. 104), a document suggests that Santa Cruz ceased to be available for work on the high altar of Ávila cathedral by 23 March 1508, and may have died before that date


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Saint Sebastian. Oil painting by Santa Cruz. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

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