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Norms: The Saints Collection | Saint Sebastian

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.

Saint Sebastian Norm (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen, ink and gold paint on paper)

Saint Sebastian Norm (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen, ink and gold paint on paper)

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.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at

 Nicholas de Lacy-Brown’s new solo exhibition, When (S)pain became the Norm, will be at London’s Strand Gallery from 13 – 18 May 2014. For more details, click here

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