Image Resources | Currently on View in Charles O. McGaughey Gallery
Diana’s sketch is a preparatory study for the main altarpiece of the church of San Sebastiano (now San Giovanni Battista), Gragnano, part of a series of five paintings dedicated to the life of the saint. This painting is relatively large in scale, indicating that it might have served as a presentation model for the patrons, even though it displays the unfinished quality of a preparatory sketch. Diana omits fine details such the bows and arrows held by the executioners on the left, which he may have judged to be extraneous to the overall effect of the composition. The graceful, refined figures and warm tonality are hallmarks of Diana’s style, which was widely disseminated thanks to his role as an instructor at the academy in Naples.