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Home>Collection & Louvre Palace>Curatorial Departments>The Holy Family with St. Catherine, St. Sebastian and a Donor

La Sainte Famille avec sainte Catherine, saint Sébastienet un donateur

© 2009 RMN / Stéphane Maréchalle

Italian painting

Aline François

A Venetian work

The Virgin, surrounded by Joseph and St. Catherine, holds the baby Jesus on her knees. The Christ Child leans towards an anonymous man who appears to be praying. This is without doubt the patron who commissioned the painting to adorn his chapel. Everyone tenderly contemplates the Child, with the exception of St. Sebastian, bound to a tree and pierced with arrows, who looks away and out of the composition.
This work, painted when Sebastiano was a young man, figures in the artist's Venetian period, before his departure for Rome in 1511. The figures, depicted in three-quarter profile, are static and grouped before a landscape. The painter was influenced in this period by the traditional schema of Bellini's works, but above all by the style, in particular the tonal harmony, of Giorgione - to whom this painting has often been attributed.

Raphael and Michelangelo

Sebastiano received his training in the Venetian studio of Giovanni Bellini, and later with Giorgione. His first important works were the wings of the San Bartolomeo di Rialto organ (1508; Academia, Venice) and the Pala de San Giovanni Crisostomo (1510). He was invited to Rome in 1511 by Agostino Chigi to undertake the frescoes of the Villa Farnesina and the decoration of the Borgherini chapel in the San Pietro di Montorio church (1517-1524). During this time he frequented Raphael and his students, but chose Michelangelo as his model. During the Sack of Rome in 1527 he returned to Venice, without however settling there. In 1531 Clement VII appointed him "Piombare", or guardian of the pontifical lead seals, from which role his nickname derived. This prestigious position would not prevent him however from continuing to fulfill large commissions until his death.

Technical description

  • Sebastiano LUCIANI, dit Sebastiano del PIOMBO (Venise, vers 1485 - Rome, 1547)

    La Sainte Famille avec sainte Catherine, saint Sébastienet un donateur

    Vers 1507 - 1508

  • H. : 0,95 m. ; L. : 1,36 m.

  • Collection de Louis XIV, acquis de Jabach en 1662

    INV. 70

  • Paintings

    Denon wing
    1st floor
    Mona Lisa room
    Room 711

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