January 20th is the feast day of Saint Sebastian–my Confirmation Saint. He was a soldier in the Roman army who was posted to a tree and shot full of arrows for his faith. Left for dead, he was nursed back to health by the widow Irene. According to Catholic.org,
Soon after, Sebastian intercepted the Emperor, denounced him for his cruelty to Christians, and was beaten to death on the Emperor’s orders.
Inside the Church of St. Sebastian in Rome, Italy:
And my second favorite, by Jean-Jacques Henner (1889).
Though Sebastian himself looks lovely here–vulnerable, stoic, ethereal–my favorite thing about this is the women attending. Dressed in black cloaks, as much apart of the night sky as anything else. It’s as though they’ve materialized in the blackness, or whipped in on some dark wind, to Sebastian’s side.
I also came across this delightful derivation. It looks Edward Gorey-esque!
Titled, “Saint Sebastian, Eaten by Bats”
And though it’s not directly related to Saint Sebastian, enjoy this flickr stream: Memento Mori in Saint Sebastian’s Cemetery (Salzburg, Austria) for some truly excellent carvings and other mementos of death.