NPR logo An Irreverent Take on 'Saint Sebastian'

An Irreverent Take on 'Saint Sebastian'

An Irreverent Take on 'Saint Sebastian'

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'The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian' by Italian painter Giovanni Bazzi, painted around 1525. Bazzi was known as Il Sodoma, a reference to his affinity for young men. The Modern Journals Project hide caption

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The Modern Journals Project

'The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian' by Italian painter Giovanni Bazzi, painted around 1525. Bazzi was known as Il Sodoma, a reference to his affinity for young men.

The Modern Journals Project

Claude Debussy wrote incidental music for an irreverent 1911 play by Gabriele D'Annunzio called The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian.

The play enraged the Archbishop of Paris; D'Annunzio cast ballerina Ida Rubenstein — his mistress — as St. Sebastian, and had her writhe in sexual ecstasy when pierced by arrows.

The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic performs Debussy's "Suite from The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian."

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