Odilon Redon painted Saint Sebastian
many times, the standard image: bound to
a plane tree and bristling with arrows.
Left for dead by Emperor Diocletian
it was Saint Irene who carried him home
and nursed him back to health. Once mended, he
resumed his ministries, until one day
seeing the emperor pass by, he must have
shouted something like, Hey, Diocletian,
how do you like me now? with which he was
summarily and finally clubbed to death.
No one paints the beaten Sebastian, though
I like to think Redon later portrayed him
in soft pastel: a red smudge among the flowers.