Skip to main content

Ortolano, Saint Sebastian with Saint Roch and Saint Demetrius

Key facts
Full title Saint Sebastian with Saint Roch and Saint Demetrius
Artist Ortolano
Artist dates about 1487 - after 1527
Date made 1521-4
Medium and support Oil on canvas, transferred from wood
Dimensions 230.4 × 154.9 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1861
Inventory number NG669
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Saint Sebastian with Saint Roch and Saint Demetrius

This altarpiece is considered Ortolano’s masterpiece. In it he achieves effects of startling realism through his deep understanding of anatomy, optics and perspective. It was made for the church of S. Maria in Bondeno, a small town to the north-west of Ferrara.

Saints Sebastian (centre) and Roch (left), both invoked in times of plague, are accompanied by Saint Demetrius (right). Saint Demetrius is rare in Italian art – so rare he is identified here by a paper at his feet. He wears full plate armour, the reflections in its polished surface depicted with incredible skill. His gesture – thoughtfully resting his face on his hand – echoes Raphael’s Saint Paul in the Saint Cecilia Altarpiece (Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna). However, Ortolano’s decision to cover Saint Demetrius' mouth is very unusual. The meticulously observed still life of objects in the foreground was certainly influenced by the musical instruments similarly placed on the stony ground in Raphael’s altarpiece.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo