Andrea Mantegna, Saint Sebastian, oil on wood panel, ca. 1456-59 (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)
Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris, Dr. Steven Zucker
One of my 7th grade students noticed that there is a man on a horse in one of the clouds. Can you address this?
Thank you for your comment Ms. Walker. The cloud horseman may be yet another reference to antiquity as it looks like a marble relief.
The rider has been interpreted as Saturn, the Roman-Greek god: in ancient times Saturn was identified with the Time that passed by and all left destroyed behind him. This is in referance to the fact that Mantegna lived in a time of plague and St Sebastian was seen as the protector of the plague.
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Masterpiece in Focus
Another version of this subject by Mantegna (Louvre)
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