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Bronze St. George the Dragon Slayer Statue

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Whatley, E. Gordon, editor, with Anne B. Thompson and Robert K. Upchurch, 2004. St. George and the Dragon in the South English Legendary (East Midland Revision, c. 1400) Originally published in Saints' Lives in Middle English Collections ( on-line text: Introduction).

Scholars are united in their admiration for the St. George and are divided only when it comes to evaluating what the statue ultimately meant to Donatello and the Florentine people. Cited by F. R. Shapley, Catalogue of the Italian Paintings, 2 vols., Washington, 1979: 1:394, as documented in the Recueil des Stampes...dans le Cabinet du Roi..., Volume I, 1763: 13. Incidentally, the St. George was not the only statue that Donatello produced for a niche in the Orsanmichele. He also sculpted the St. Mark for the linen drapers guild of Florence, an equally beautiful and meticulously crafted work of art.

And Donatello really does the young knight justice. The architectural niches that studded church exteriors were narrow, so St. George didn't have room for a dramatic stance. Donatello positioned him standing in classical contrapposto, his face is stoic, brow furrowed, and gaze directed to the horizon. He’s young, strong, and beautiful. Even better, he’s wearing armor. Because saint-though-he-may-be, George was also an advertisement for the guild who venerated him, and Donatello knew how to please a client. A sturdy shield stands in front of the saint, his tunic is tossed over his shoulder revealing plated leather armor, a drill-hole in the forehead suggests the saint originally wore a helmet, and the hand at his waist looks designed to hold a sword. Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 78-79, no. 55, color repro. St. George was celebrated on various days throughout the year with feasts and celebrations and was known as a patron saint of the armory. The guild placed intricate metal adornments It is said that the price of the statue was of three hundred scudi. At that time, the parish priest at St George’s was Canon Fortunato Cutajar. The citizens of Florence considered themselves the heirs of the beauty, grace and power of the Roman Empire and most highly valued any tribute thereto. Thus, it is likely that both the guild members and the citizens of Florence welcomed the statue.

Neverov, Oleg, and Mikhail Piotrovsky. The Hermitage: Essays on the History of the Collection, Saint Petersburg, 1997, p. 163, repro. Jonathan David Arthur Good, Saint George for England: Sanctity and National Identity, 1272-1509 (2004), p. 102.Mina, John Louis (1979). Thematic and Poetic Analysis of Russian Religious Oral Epics: Epic Duxovnye Stixi (Thesis). University of California, Berkeley. p.73. The narrative has pre-Christian origins ( Jason and Medea, Perseus and Andromeda, Typhon, etc.), [1] and is recorded in various saints' lives prior to its attribution to St. George specifically. It was particularly attributed to Saint Theodore Tiro in the 9th and 10th centuries, and was first transferred to Saint George in the 11th century. The oldest known record of Saint George slaying a dragon is found in a Georgian text of the 11th century. [2] [3]

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