15 May 2013

Saint George and the Dragon


St George and the Dragon - Anonymous - Monastery Asomaton - Amari (Crete)

 
Saint George was a knight and born in Cappadocia. One time he came to the city of Silene in the province of Libya. Near this city was a pond, wherein there was a dragon which was poisoning all the country. Whenever he approached the city he poisoned the people with his breath, and therefore the people of the city gave to him every day two sheep to eat, so that he would do no harm to the people. When they ran out of sheep, he was given a man and a sheep. Then an ordinance was made that the children and young people of the town should be chosen by lottery to feed the dragon. Whoever the lot fell upon, wealthy or poor, he or she was delivered to the dragon.



Saint George and the Dragon - Rogier van der Weyden - 1435

St George and the Dragon - Bernardo Martorell - 1435

St George slaying the Dragon - Jost Haller - 1445-5

St George slaying the Dragon - Jost Haller - 1445-50 (Detail Dragon)

Saint George and the Dragon - Paolo Uccello - c.1456 (National Gallery)

Saint George and the Dragon - Paolo Uccello - c.1459 (Louvre)

One time the lot fell upon the king's daughter, and the sorrowful king said to his people, "For the love of the gods take gold and silver and all that I have, but let me have my daughter."
They said, "Sir, you have made the law, and our children are now dead, but you would do the contrary. Your daughter shall be given, or else we shall burn you and your house."
Seeing that he could do no more, the king began to weep, and said to his daughter, "Now I shall never see you married."
Then he returned to the people and asked for eight days' respite, which they granted to him. When the eight days were passed they came to him and said, "You see that the city is perishing."
Then the king had his daughter dressed like a bride, embraced and kissed her, gave her his blessing, then led her to the place where the dragon was.



Saint George slaying the Dragon - Master of the St. George's Altarpiece - 1470

Saint George and the Dragon - Anonymous - c.1480-90

Saint George and the Dragon - Vittore Carpaccio 1502

Saint George and the Dragon - Vittore Carpaccio 1502 (Detail)

Saint George and the Dragon - Luca Signorelli - 1505

St George fighting the Dragon - Raphael - 1505

St George and the Dragon - Raphael - 1506

When she was there Saint George passed by, and seeing the lady, he asked her what she was doing there.
She said, "Go your way, fair young man, lest you perish as well."
Then he said, "Tell me why you are weeping."
When she saw that he insisted on knowing, she told him how she had been delivered to the dragon.
Then Saint George said, "Fair daughter, doubt not, for I shall help you in the name of Jesus Christ."
She said, "For God's sake, good knight, go your way, for you cannot save me."




St George and the Dragon - Carpaccio Vittore - 1516
 
St. George and the Dragon - Il Sodoma - 1518

St George and the Dragon - Lelio Orsi - 1550

St George and the Dragon - Tintoretto - 1544

While they were thus talking together the dragon appeared and came running toward them. Saint George, who was on his horse, drew his sword, made the sign of the cross, then rode swiftly toward the dragon. He struck him with his spear, injuring him severely.
Then he said to the maid, "Tie your belt around the dragon's neck, and be not afraid."
When she had done so the dragon followed her meekly. She led him into the city, and the people fled in fear.
Saint George said to them, "Doubt not. Believe in God and Jesus Christ, and be baptized, and I shall slay the dragon."



Saint George and the Dragon -  Tintoretto - 1555

Saint George and the Dragon - Anthony van Dyck - c.1600


St. George and the Dragon - Peter Paul Ruebens - 1606


Landscape with Saint George and the Dragon - Peter Paul Rubens - 1630
 Then the king and all his people were baptized, whereupon Saint George killed the dragon and cut off his head. It took four ox-carts to remove his body from the city.
At that time fifteen thousand men were baptized, not counting women and children. The king established a church there in honor of Our Lady and of Saint George, in which there flows to this day a fountain of living water that heals sick people who drink from it.
The king offered to Saint George as much money as he could count, but he refused it, asking instead that it be given to poor people for God's sake. Then he made four requests of this king: that he [the king] should have charge of the churches, that he should honor the priests, that he should hear their service diligently, and that he should have pity on the poor people. Then Saint George took leave of the king and departed.

 Abstracted from The Golden Legend; or, Lives of the Saints, compiled by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, 1275. First edition published in 1470. Translated into English by William Caxton, first edition 1483.



Saint George and the Dragon - Edward Burne Jones - 1868

St George and the Dragon - Hans Von Marees - 1880

St George and the Dragon -  Gustave Moreau - 1890

Saint Georges and the Dragon - Briton Riviere - 1908-9









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