One of the most famous pictures of the early Renaissance, it was once part of a triptych wihch was later disassembled. Until the discover of Antonello's sign, it was usually attributed to Giovanni Bellini. The work was commissioned by the Venetian School of Saint Roch after a plague, and was completed by the Messinese painter within his death, occurred in the February of 1479.
This picture, dominated by the vertical figure of the saint, shows a marked influence by Piero della Francesca: this can be seen in particular in the prospectical floor and in the "mathematical" disposition of the figurative elements. At the same time, original by Antonello is the smooth rendering of the body of St. Sebastian (against any geometrical decomposition) and the passion for the details of landscape, seen for example in Umbrian school painters like Carlo Crivelli.
Famous details include the leaning man on the left, the typical Venetian-style chimneys, the columns and the monumental appearance of the buildings (probably inspired to some Mantegna's works) and the debating duos of men on the right side, forming an interesting mixing of late Gothic elements with Venetian, Flemish and advanced Renaissance ones.