Favourites: Guido Reni’s St. Sebastian

Guido Reni St SebastianSally-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.


About this article

Sally-Ann Johnson

About Sally-Ann Johnson

Writer and Friends Committee Member. Sally-Ann is passionate about art and enjoys writing. She has a commercial background, and has also been a language & communication coach in Japan. She currently works in knowledge management for a large City firm.
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