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Medieval Sights & Sounds

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St. Sebastian

ca. 1470
54 x 16 x 9 1/2 in. (137.2 x 40.6 x 24.1 cm)

Ulrich Kriechbaum (aka Neunhauser)
German (active 1450 - 1472)

Object Type: Sculpture
Medium and Support: Lindenwood, traces of polychromy
Credit Line: The Marie Adelaide Devine Fund
Accession Number: 1991.1
Location: Currently on view
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According to legend, Sebastian was an officer of the imperial guard of the Roman emperor Diocletian. This sculpture shows Sebastian’s fate when it was revealed that he was a Christian: he was sentenced to execution, bound to a stake, and shot with arrows. Left for dead, his wounds were healed by Irene, the widow of another martyr. When he again appeared before the Emperor, Sebastian was ordered beaten to death.

This statue may once have been part of the high altar of the Cistercian abbey of Fürstenfeld, a town near Munich, Germany. The detailed and vigorous carving of Sebastian’s face, the elegance of his posture, and the ornamental drapery, with its elaborate folds and angles, are characteristics of the Gothic style as it manifest in southern Germany.

[Gallery label text, June 2013]

Julius Böhler, Munich (dealer); purchased from him by the Gallery in 1991

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MOTET FOR ST. SEBASTIAN: O BEATE SEBASTIANE Listen to music chosen for this artwork from MUSICUS, the world’s first online museum of music.

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