This poster presents not so much a cast of characters as it does the sumptuous costumes of this talented artist. The theatrical event, a play written by Gabrielle d'Annunzio, contained several dance sections. It was within these pieces that Ida Rubenstein, star dancer for the Ballets Russes who originated the roles of Cleopatra and Zobéide for Diaghilev, appeared independently for the first time on the Parisian stage at the Chatelet Theater - the very theater where Diaghilev first introduced his Ballets Russes to the Parisian public. It was an audacious move, made all the more so by the fact that she organized her own company for this event. Diaghilev was furious, refering to her as "ogress," not merely for her rivalry, but because she was collaborating with Claude Debussy before he had the opportunity. Additionally, she facilitated the "betrayal" of Bakst, as costume and set designer, and Mikhail Fokine, who acted as choreographer for the production. Saint Sebastian was an early Christian martyr who entered into the Roman army without revealing his religion or his intent to protect fellow Christians. After rising rapidly through the ranks, his secret was exposed, he was tied to a tree, shot with arrows and left for dead. He survived however, and after being nursed back to health by a woman named Irene, recommitted himself to his earlier mission. When the emperor discovered that he was still alive, he was taken captive and clubbed to death. His ordeal was a popular subject among Renaissance artists.
The Bakhrushin Museum in Moscow does not have a copy of the present poster and it appears that only one copy survived in Russia in the collections of the Tretiakov gallery in Moscow, see Koblenz, Treffpunkt Paris!, Ludwigmuseum, September 2003, illustrated page 180.