Next up in the fast growing Norm Saint’s Collection is Saint Sebastian. Famed for being the martyr who was martyred twice (once when he was shot with arrows, and second when, after that didn’t kill him, he was pummelled to death), Saint Sebastian is the saint whose writhing naked body, filled with arrows, has become as popular a gay icon as it has a symbol of religious devotion and a great favourite of artists through the ages.
My Norm Saint Sebastian is only the latest depiction of this saint to join the mass of works executed throughout art history by famed artists such as Titian, Botticelli and John Singer Sargent. And like many of those which have gone before it, my depiction shows this poor arrow-riddled saint tied roughly to a tree, while behind him, a beautifully bucolic background gives otherwise irrelevant depth and magnificence to the scene. Meanwhile, a host of dear little Norm angles are doing their best to try and save this most suffering of saints, by pulling out the arrows from his tender skin one by one in an attempt to save him from inevitable suffering and death.
Happily, as the story goes, Saint Sebastian did not die from his arrow wounds – miraculously he was nursed back to life by Saint Irene, only to be finally condemned to a more violent end when he taunted the Emperor Diocletian for not having killed him properly in the first place. Some might say he should have learnt his lesson from the first occasion he spoke up against the Emperor a little too loudly. But then he wouldn’t be a very good martyr if he didn’t suffer for his cause.
Up next: Saint Jerome.
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