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“Saint George and the Dragon” by Tintoretto

Jacopo Tintoretto - Saint George and the Dragon

“Saint George and the Dragon” by Tintoretto

“Saint George and the Dragon” by Tintoretto depicts the legend of the saint slaying a dragon that demanded human sacrifices and thereby rescuing the princess chosen as the next offering. The earliest Byzantine icons representing Saint George as a horseman killing the dragon are dated to the 12th century.

Pictures of Saint George and the Dragon became popular in the Byzantine art of Eastern Europe and was introduced into the Western Christian art tradition by the Crusades. The small size of this canvas suggests it was painted for personal use and not for display in a large church.

In this painting, Saint George is shown about to defeat the dragon, by the edge of the sea. The fleeing princess is dominant in the foreground. In the center lies the previous victim, which the dragon was about to eat. The figure of God blessing Saint George appears in the sky. The blue and rose colors are echoed in the draperies and the tints of the cloudscape. The horizon and viewpoint help create tension and drama in the picture.

Tintoretto

Tintoretto was an Italian painter whose speed in painting, and the boldness of his brushwork he was referred to as Il Furioso by contemporaries. His work is characterized by the dramatic and bold use of perspective.

Saint George and the Dragon

Tintoretto

Exploring Heros on Horseback

Reflections

  • If this was created for personal devotional use, then I imagine it was commissioned for the lady in this painting, with her image. Can you believe that?
  • Why was the story and image of Saint George and the Dragon so popular?
  • In the grand sweep of history, how influential were the crusades in the adoption of Eastern influences?
  • Was this religious art commissioned by the woman in the painting?

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“The saint who works no miracles isn’t glorified.”
– Greek Proverb

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Photo Credit: 1)Tintoretto [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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