The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian
The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian c1600-1604 by Dutch Engraver Jan Muller (1571 – 1628); as well as a painter of the Dutch Golden Age.
This engraving depicts Sebastian a Prætorian Guard, who would later be known as St. Sebastian The Martyr as he is being executed; which is based on a painting by the German Painter Hans van Aachen (1552 – 1615); who was a court painter and art collector for Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (1552 – 1612).
St. Sebastian was born in what now is Southern France during the mid-third century, and was a member of the Prætorian Guard; which were soldiers that made up the personal security for the Roman Emperors.
It was during this period in Roman history that Christians were being actively persecuted by the Roman Empire for their beliefs in one GOD, and it is during the pursuit of anyone following the Christian faith, that Sebastian’s superiors discover that he is a Christian, and that he is actively converting other soldiers to Christianity.
Sebastian is thus condemned to death; and in this depiction of the story we see that he has been stripped of his clothing by the very soldiers he had served with, and tied to a tree; with a single arrow shot into his chest by a soldier being given commands from his commander, with other soldiers prepared to fire more arrows at him.
In the background center of the engraving we see what may be the Roman Emperor on horseback with is guard detail behind him and a few soldiers in front of him;while above him the light of heaven streams on to his head forming a partial halo, as an angel above him carries a palm branch in its right hand and a wreath in its left hand.
The palm and the wreath symbolize GODs protection; because even though Sebastian was gravely injured and was left for dead, he did not die; as he was found by Irene of Rome, who was married to a devout Christian and who nursed him back to health.
This is a remastered digital art old masters reproduction of a public domain image that is available as a rolled canvas print.
About The Artist
Jan Muller was a Dutch Golden Age engraver and painter who was born in Amsterdam on 1571 and learned the trade of engraving from his father Harmen Jansz. Muller (1540 – 1617) who was a book printer, engraver, and publisher.
Jan was a prolific and skilled engraver who was known for his attention to detail, and produced made drawings, engravings, paintings, and was especially known for his portraits of political figures, royalty, and other prominent figures of the time.
Jan’s most famous works include his engravings of the mythological figures of Minerva and Mercury, his portraits of the Dutch royal family, and his collaborations with the sculptor Adriaen de Vries (1545 – 1626), Dutch Golden Age Painter, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606 – 1669), and the Flemish Engraver, Jan Sadeler (1550 – 1600).
He was also known for his drawings of the great Dutch landscape painter, Jan van Goyen (1596 – 1656), which were made for an edition of van Goyen’s works; and he became an important figure in Dutch engraving, and his works are seen as a testament to the golden age of Dutch art.
Jan was also a respected teacher, passing on his skills to his students, who included the Dutch engraver and painter, Pieter de Molyn (1597 – 1661); and was an important contributor to the Dutch Golden Age of art.