Sunday, February 10, 2008

Arrows of Desire: How Did St. Sebastian Become An Enduring, Homo-Erotic Icon?

Charles Darwent writes:
Christian saints don't make the cover of gay magazines every day – even less so in a slick of baby oil and a pair of Calvins. But such was the case with last July's issue of reFRESH, the saint in question being played by French policeman-turned-TV-hunk, Sebastien Moura. What's going on? Well, Sebastian is living proof of the fact that if saints didn't exist, we would have to invent them. Thanks to the arrows, he's the one martyr in art everyone can spot.

According to St. Sebastian's hagiographer ( a person who studies saints), Ambrose of Milan, Sebastian was a red-blooded captain in the Praetorian Guard, a centurion of middling years: he is the patron saint of soldiers and athletes. He was killed for converting Romans to Christianity. And we all know where that led. But there is worse. Not only was St Sebastian middle-aged and butch, he wasn't killed with arrows. Punctured, yes, but not killed. Unmoved by his tenacity, the emperor had Sebastian clubbed to death; his body was then dumped in Rome's sewers. How this would have affected his career as a gay coverboy we will never know. MORE
AddThis Feed Button