Sebastian, the leader of a cohort under Emperor Diocletian, was condemned to death as a Christian, tied to a post and pierced with arrows. He survived and continued to denounce the persecution of Christians. Ultimately he was beaten to death and his body thrown into the sewers in Rome—shown in the background on the central panel, the landscape continuing onto the wing panels. Here, the saints Barbara and Elizabeth are shown in niches from classical antiquity. All three saints were called on as intercessors for illnesses or for a ‘good death’, especially Sebastian as the patron saint of plague victims. Holbein’s adoption of the stylistic means and motifs of the Renaissance is masterful: large figures close up, ancient ornamentation, bright colouration. The original location of the winged altarpiece is unknown.