Statues - Hither & Thither

Czech Republic
Praha
Hlavní mĕsto

Hrad III. nádvoří

Svatý Jiří

Saint George

(ca. 275/281 - 303)
Roman soldier from Syria Palaestina and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. He is immortalized in the tale of Saint George and the Dragon
(Wikipedia)

Martin and George of Cluj
1373

Praha /  Svatý Jiří   Praha /  Svatý Jiří

Description

Bronze equestrian statue of St. George fighting the dragon.

Annotation

It is one of the leading Czech Gothic statues of bronze. The statue was damaged in the year 1541 at the Prague Castle fire, which had offended its right hand and it had to be re-welded. Another accident struck the statue in 1562, when the audience climbed in the statue to see a jousting tournament, they broke the horse's head.

The present is a copy from 1967, the original is deposited in the National Gallery.

English abstract of an article by K. Benesovska in Umeni 55 (2007) 1: 28-39:

St. George the dragon slayer: the eternal pilgrim without a home?
The article suggests some new ways of understanding the 'place' of the St George sculpture (work of the metalworkers Martin and George of Cluj/Klausenburg/Kolozsvár/, executed 1373) in the court art of the second half of the 14th century, inspired primarily by the Italian milieu. The sculpture cannot be classified as an equestrian monument. It depicts the culminating moment of the St George legend of Jacobus de Voragine, when the saint on horseback strikes the dragon to the ground with his lance, so that the princess can then lead it off, attached to her belt, to the liberated city. The composition is defined by the main vertical axis, represented by the (lost) lance, around which the horse, rider and dragon turn. Among medieval monuments, it is the only surviving execution of this motif in a large, three-dimensional bronze work. The motif, with its dynamic, revolving composition, is frequently found in paintings and reliefs. Aside from reliefs and small statues, author draws attention to the closest analogy to the Prague sculpture: the illusive painting of a St George sculpture on a bracket, executed by Giovannino dei Grassi on the jamb of the northern sacristy in the Milan cathedral in 1395. On that occasion, Giangaleazzo was elevated to a dukedom by Václav IV, King of Bohemia and of the Romans (or rather, by his plenipotentiary Benes of Choustník). Even if, in the future, the court at which the Prague sculpture was made is identified, along with the person who commissioned it and the person who designed the model (including confirmation of the role of the brothers of Cluj), even if the journey of the sculpture to Prague is reconstructed, the work will remain a testimony to the inspiring influence of the northern Italian milieu.

Saint George and the Dragon

The town of Silene had a pond, as large as a lake, where a plague-bearing dragon dwelled that envenomed all the countryside. To appease the dragon, the people of Silene used to feed it two sheep every day, and when the sheep failed, they fed it their children, chosen by lottery. It happened that the lot fell on the king's daughter. The king, distraught with grief, told the people they could have all his gold and silver and half of his kingdom if his daughter were spared; the people refused. The daughter was sent out to the lake, decked out as a bride, to be fed to the dragon. Saint George by chance rode past the lake. The princess, trembling, sought to send him away, but George vowed to remain. The dragon reared out of the lake while they were conversing. Saint George fortified himself with the Sign of the Cross, charged it on horseback with his lance, and gave it a grievous wound. He then called to the princess to throw him her girdle, and he put it around the dragon's neck. When she did so, the dragon followed the girl like a meek beast on a leash. Wikipedia. In art, Saint George is easily distinguished from Saint Michael, the other saint dragon slayer, since Michael as archangel is always depicted with wings.

Sculptor

Sources & Information

Tags

Location N 50°5'25" E 14°24'1"

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Item Code: czpr039; Photograph: 18 February 2011
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