Marco d'Oggiono - inv. 1640
In good condition, the painting shows Saint Sebastian with the arrows of his martyrdom. He is standing against a tree, which reaches the top of the painting, creating a break between the rocky earth in the foreground and the landscape. The saint shows strong Leonardesque characteristics, even if Marco d’Oggiono does not achieve Leonardo’s complex anatomical investigations. In profile, his face has a melancholy expression and the whole work expresses a gentle sentimentality rather than high drama.
The line of the almost monochrome landscape, like the style and size of the panel, match that of a Saint Roch in the Carrara Academy in Bergamo. The two paintings were no doubt the side panels of a small triptych whose central panel, now lost, would probably have shown a Virgin and Child.
D’Oggiono often reworked his master’s subjects, here referred to in the landscape that dwindles to the horizon, in the almost female nude and in the drapery folds. These motifs are simplified, though, rendered schematically: in fact the artist is an imitator rather than an innovator and well knew how to interpret the tastes and expectations of his clients.
Scholars disagree as to the dating of this work, placing it to about 1495 or towards 1520. The latter hypothesis seems preferable not only for stylistic reasons but also for iconographic ones: the combination of the saints Sebastian and Roch, invoked against the plague, suggest a connection to the epidemics that afflicted Milan in those years.