Antonio and Piero del Pollaiuolo,
The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastien
Inkjet on watercolour paper
90 x 60 centimetres
The memory of Antonio and Piero del Pollaiuolo's alterpeice, The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastien, dates back to my high school art history lessons, when this painting stuck in my mind because of the barbaric method of execution and the dramatic composition. This re-imagining explores similar ideas to other works in this series, The Tempest and David and Jonathan, where the events depicted in historic art works are relocated into Australian suburban environments. The reason for this dislocation was to investigate how these iconic images would function when seen in the context of familiar surroundings, such as a typical suburban Australian street with carports and a S.U.V. vehicle parked in the driveway.
The rigorous symmetry of the Pollaiuolo painting has been partly honoured, with the executioners and the bystander photographer forming a tidy cluster around Saint Sebastien, trussed to the telegraph pole and gazing heavenwards. The presence of modern communication tools, such as the digital camera and the mobile phone, serve to remind us that these devices nowadays bear witness to significant events -- and no longer the imagination of artists, such as the Pollaiuolo brothers.
Antonio and Piero del Pollaiuolo, The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastien: The National Gallery, London
Time and Distance Overcome, Eula Biss: NPR.org