|St. Sebastian Tended by St. Irene, 1620, Bassetti Marcantonio|
|St. Sebastian, 1474,|
one of the earliest.
|St. Sebastian, 1499,|
|St. Sebastian Thrown into the Cloaca Maxima, 1512, Lodovico Carracci|
|St. Sebastian, 1475, Antonio|
Pollaiuolo, considered one of
the best versions, and my
first encounter with the saint.
|St. Sebastian, 1671-72, Giuseppe Giorgetti,|
marking the saint's supposed tomb. (The arrows are real.)
|St. Sebastian, 1651, Jose di Ribera|
|St. Sebastian, 1600, El Greco|
|St. Sebastian, Gian Paulo Tomasi|
|St. Sebastian, Yannis Tsarouchis.|
As the depictions move into the 20th-century (above) any vestige of personal modesty has declined along with the arrow count. During earlier eras, the story was rife with thin, but socially acceptable "excuses" for male nudity, which have always been far fewer in number than those for female nudity. But, as the centuries have passed, such "excuses" have been recognized for their inanity and thus their utility has declined, leaving only the transparency of the titles. The Images of St. Sebastian has gone from sanctified to sexy, often heavy with homoerotic overtones. Moreover, the poor, unfortunate saint has even undergone an artistic sex-change operation (above left). Of course today, nudity is almost passe. Thus the modern version of St. Sebastian (above, right) is modestly clad in his "tighty-whiteys" with maybe one or two arrows remaining. Perhaps Raphael (below) had the right idea.
|Apparently only Raphael could resist the urge to paint the martyr in all|
his muscular glory. Though titled St. Sebastian and dating from 1502, it is,
in fact, difficult here to tell which saint he was paintinig, Irene, or Sebastian.