The young Sebastian has been shot by the arrows of hate. Tied to a tree, defenceless, the arrows of Diocletian’s archers have pierced his flesh.
This same Sebastian had been an officer in the ruthless Emperor’s guard. He came from Narbonne, in the Roman Gaul. He had reproached Diocletian for his persecution of the Christians and was, hence, sentenced to death. He would be shot through with the arrows of intolerance. Dali has chosen to follow the Christian inconographic tradition, and picture him, tied to a tree, perhaps a Mediterranean olive tree? where the saint, flesh pierced through by four arrows, stands erect awaiting death.
The legend tells us that Sebastian, forgotten by his executioners, healed from his wounds and preached the Christian faith for the rest of his life.