Sebastian was a Roman soldier condemned to death by the Emperor Diocletian for aiding the Christians; his arrow wounds were not fatal (see Bellucci DPG46) and he was later clubbed to death. Reni's painting was one of the most celebrated at Dulwich in the nineteenth century, but was catalogued in 1880 as a studio work and in 1980 as a copy. Pepper now accepts DPG268 as one of two autograph replicas of an original in the Prado, Madrid of 1617-18, the other being in the Louvre. Both replicas differ from the Prado picture in the inclusion of Sebastian's left hand, in the more revealing loin-cloth, and in the figures added to the landscape. In the Dulwich version a pentiment shows that the loin-cloth has been reduced. Pepper dates the Louvre version to the same period as the Prado original and the Dulwich version to the early 1630s.