GUIDO RENI (1575 - 1642)
                                                                The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, ca. 1615

In his first novel "Confessions of a Mask", Japanese writer Yukio Mishima recalls that he experienced his first ejaculation upon observing a reproduction of this painting of the martyred Saint Sebastian, bound and riddled with arrows.

Quote: “The arrows have eaten into the tense, fragrant, youthful flesh” he writes, “and are about to consume his body from within with flames of supreme agony and ecstasy.”

For Mishima, the ultimate aesthetic experience, as well as the ultimate spiritual experience, was to be found in the encounter of male beauty and death.
As he wrote of Sebastian, “was not such beauty as his a thing destined for death?…His was not a fate to be pitied…[It was] a fate that might even be called radiant.