Not much is known about the German painter and woodcutter Anton Woensam. He was probably born in Worms, he is also called Anton von Worms, but worked most of his life in Cologne where he also created his most famous work, a panorama woodcut of that city dated 1531. This magnum opus was a commission of the city council to be presented to the emperor Charles V when he visisted Cologne for the coronation of his brother Ferdinand I as Roman king. The panorama was printed from nine blocks and measures c. 140 x 350 cm. He also produced many illustrations for books and he was the most important woodcutter working in Cologne in the first half of the 16th century.
His first known work is a triptych of c. 1520 that probably once decorated an altar in the church of St. Gereon, parts of which can now be found in the Klerikalmuseum, Freising and the Alte Pinakothek, Munich. Soon he was able to leave behind the decorative style so typical for the late Gothic period visible in these early works. Prints by Dürer and other Renaissance masters clearly stimulated him as well as the works by Antwerp masters that could be found in the churches in Cologne, like works by Joos van Cleve and Barthel Bruyn.
These new influences become apparent for instance in the 'votivtafel' of the Madonna and Child, two saints and a donor, still in the church of St. Severin, Cologne, and painted just before 1530. The St. Sebastian in the present composition shows remarkable similarities with the bare-fooded male saint (St. Bartholomew?) to the right in the St. Severin panel. For instance in the way the legs and the broad feet are depicted but also in the foliage of the trees and the architectural motives in the background. However the St. Sebastian shows a further interest in Antwerp painting of the 16th Century, especially that of the so-called Antwerp mannerists, which is typical for Woensam's later work.
We are grateful to Mr. Ludwig Meyer for his help in cataloguing this lot.