Sebastian in Art

Explore more than 5000 images of St Sebastian from around the world.

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How to use this site

The central part of this web site consists of the representations of Sebastian and this is what we are concerned with here. For other areas of interest consult the other headings on our front page.

We are aware that there are now many web sites with images of the saint, an indication, of course, of his cultural importance. However, most of these sites are interested only in the image. We seek here to discuss and comment upon the images as well as to show and describe them. The names we have used for the various fields follow closely upon those used by Sebastiano Corrà on his web site.

The numbering of the representations follows no pattern. For many years when we discovered examples which we knew would be of interest to Sebastiano, we passed the information on to him and they were added by him to his site. Our collection then consisted only of examples which were not of interest to him – representations with no reference to Italy and modern representations. Thus, our early numbers are largely taken up with these. When we began preparing the material for this site, we decided to widen our collection by including everything we have seen or have discovered separately from Sebastiano. This means that there are now some images reported both here and on Where this is so, our file reports the relevant scheda number on that site as well.

Our numbering was also affected by our initial decision of trying to follow Sebastiano in separating the images produced by known artists from those by artists not known to us. In following this approach, the numbers K0001 to K5000 were reserved for known artists (the K simply stands for 'Keith' to distinguish our numbers from those of Sebastiano). We have now decided to abandon this approach since it is often useful to list a work by an unknown artist as by a school of, follower of, or a copier of the work of a known artist rather than to say only that the artist is unknown. Add to this the general problem of attribution of works of art and it is easy to reach the conclusion that the distinction between known and unknown may not be worth retaining. This explains the current gap between the high 3000s and 5000. This gap will steadily be closed as examples are added. The chaotic allocation of numbers is not a problem on this site because works of art can be searched for under many characteristics.

The images come from many sources. Where we have taken a photo ourselves and we judge it to be of sufficient quality, we have used it. Some images come from Sebastiano Corrà's web site and other sites; others are photocopies from books, reviews, magazines, newspapers or auction catalogues. For all images, we have always sought to provide the source and to check fairly regularly whether the web site quoted is still correct. This leads us to the site This is not currently available and we do not know if it will return. However, several other sites have used Dr Giua's images (often without acknowledgement). Thus, even if we initially obtained the images from Dr Giua's site, we have quoted sites which are still available although we remain grateful to Dr Giua.

Because our initial intention was to write a book, we did not think we would ever be publishing all of the records we held of individual objects. Consequently, the material we held was in several languages and hadn't been thoroughly edited. This editing process is slow and will take many years. The site will constantly be changing to reflect this. We have decided to add the images we hold only when the file for that image has been edited. This means that the current state of the site is:

Examples known to us c. 15,000
Examples for which we have full recordsc. 13,000
Files on this sitec. 7,200
Edited files with images addedc. 5,300

Some of the field headings are abbreviated and probably need explanation:

DOBDate of birth
DODDate of death
PODPlace of death
BIOBiographical notes
ClassClassification of image (see below)*
SourceSource of image
LastchDate of the last change made to the file

The cards referred to on the site are those made by Barbara when we have seen a work of art – these usually include a sketch as well as the information we have gleaned about the object at the time.