Marco Palmezzano
(Forlì, circa 1459 – 1539)

Saint Sebastian

Tempera on board, 116 x 46 cm (46 x 18 inches)

Bottom centre of the painting: «marcho palmacianus / pictor F[orli]v[ensis] faciebat /M[C]CCCC [X]XI»

A surreal calm, a suspicious silence; life continues silently all around the Roman martyr, whose ribs have already been touched by a slim arrow. Our gaze founders on Romagna’s hills behind him, «unending spaces», «superhuman silences, and profound stillness »; beyond the castle’s battlements, beyond the bare, dry branches of a world at sunset, where the outline of the valleys is lost in the sky like waves in the sea. This is a signed work, whose drawing was also useful for the specular work found in the town known in Roman times as Strigonium – now Esztergom in Hungary (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4: Marco Palmezzano, Saint Sebastian. Esztergom, Christian Museum, inv. 55.221.