Sally-Ann Johnson explains her love for Dulwich Picture Gallery’s St.Sebastian by Guido Reni.
Guido Reni’s rendition of Christian saint and martyr, St Sebastian, is, for me, the most entrancing painting in the Gallery. It’s an emotionally demanding work that contrasts both the strength and vulnerability of youth in the face of impending death. St Sebastian’s statuesque and classically-rendered torso is exposed save for a small drape, and his expression a powerful and tense interweave of fear, defiance and acquiescence. Reni further heightens the drama with a compelling combination of the pallid body against a foreboding black background. No matter how many times I see this painting, it’s always spellbinding.
Upcoming exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery: 6 St Sebastians by Guido Reni.