Red chalk with pen and brown ink
Support: Cream(3) laid paper
Sheet: 17.3 x 12.4 cm (6 13/16 x 4 7/8 in.)
Delia E. Holden Fund 1997.53
This subtly drawn red chalk study depicts the moment just before the Roman soldier Sebastian was shot through with arrows for refusing to renounce his Christian faith. The young martyr turns hopefully toward heaven as if comforted by divine light. Ribera favored the subject because it allowed him to study the expressive possibilities of the bound human figure. A number of related drawings by the artist from the same period treat similar themes of saints bound in punishment. Although Spanish by birth, Jusepe de Ribera spent most of his life in Naples, where he became the dominant artistic figure until his death in 1652.
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