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Saint Sebastian Angels Tanzio Da Varallo Paint Oil on canvas 17th Century Italy

1600-1650

About the Item

Saint Sebastian cured by angels Antonio d'Enrico, called Tanzio da Varallo (Alagna Valsesia, c. 1582 - Varallo, 1633) - circle of Oil on canvas 112 x 88 cm. - Framed 124 x 100 cm. We share a painting of great fascination and intensity, depicting an impassioned 'Penitent Saint Sebastian', which takes up the most beautiful work known to date by the brilliant 17th-century Lombard Tanzio da Varallo (Alagna Valsesia, c. 1582 - Varallo, 1633), now in the Kress Collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The saint, persecuted as a Christian under Diocletian and condemned to death by the emperor himself, is here saved by two angels, after being attacked by the emperor's archers and pierced by numerous arrows. An alternative, and perhaps more plausible, reading would see in the figure holding him up behind him Saint Irene, who took care of the Saint after his martyrdom. It is a composition that gives a strong emotion, in perfect line with the dictates of the Counter-Reformation, which urged artists to create works capable of involving the faithful, who should therefore feel enraptured by the intense passions represented. And undoubtedly Tanzio da Varallo, with this work in particular, fully accepted this invitation, creating a painting of extraordinary emotional charge, with Sebastian in ecstasy. Observing these works, however, with the eyes and critical spirit of the contemporary observer, the emotions aroused are not exactly what they were aiming for, where the beauty of the body of the young soldier condemned to death by Diocletian stands out in the work. In fact, looking at our work - which we can well juxtapose with two others by the master, namely David with the Head of Goliath (Varallo, Pinacoteca) and St. John the Baptist in the Desert (Tulsa, Philbrook Museum of Art) - we see the image of a young man of great beauty (instead of the canonical mature man bearded and worn out by the harsh experience of the desert) with those dreamy eyes and blond curls, with a powerful build that seems unaffected by the wear and tear inflicted, and indeed in a pose in which every part of the body seems to radiate vitality and energy. The structure of the painting, as well as the gestural and expressive charge it conveys and the intense emotional participation and pain of the characters are borrowed from a careful study of Caravaggio's art. In 1600, in his early twenties, Tanzio da Varallo moved to Rome, being thunderstruck by the new language adopted by the great master. When, fifteen years later, he returned to Lombardy, his eyes were filled with his painting, an influence that was to accompany him throughout his successful production, which is also reflected in the St. Sebastian by the Angels in Washington. With regard to our beautiful version, we are inclined to attribute it to a 17th century author, active in the circle of Tanzio da Varallo, presumably in Lombardy. Good condition. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The painting is sold complete with a nice gilded frame and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and descriptive iconographic card. We take care of and organise the transport of the purchased works, both for Italy and abroad, through professional and insured carriers. Should you have the desire to see this or other works in person, we will be happy to welcome you to our new gallery by Antichità Castelbarco SRLS in Riva del Garda, Viale Giuseppe Canella 18. We are waiting for you! Contact us for any information or to arrange a visit, we will be happy to answer you.
  • Creation Year:
    1600-1650
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 48.82 in (124 cm)Width: 39.38 in (100 cm)
  • Medium:
  • Movement & Style:
  • Circle Of:
    Tanzio da Varallo (Alagna Valsesia, c. 1582 - Varallo, 1633) (1582 - 1633)
  • Period:
  • Condition:
  • Gallery Location:
    Riva del Garda, IT
  • Reference Number:
    1stDibs: LU988112691272
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