St. George on Foot

MAKER:
Artist

Albrecht Dürer ( German, 1471 - 1528 )

DATE:
c. 1502–c. 1503
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General Description

St. George was an early Christian martyr most famed for his slaying of a dragon. In this tale of medieval gallantry and Christian morality, a princess is sacrificed to satiate the evil dragon, and the noble George, clad in a full suit of armor, comes to her rescue. His reward was the conversion of the surrounding villages to Christianity.

In this engraving, the victorious George holds a banner with a cross inside a circle, the emblem for the Order of St. George, which was later established in his honor. It was widely believed in Europe through the 17th century that dragons existed, and therefore Albrecht Dürer is representing what was perceived as a real threat of evil. Here the dragon looks especially monstrous with its sinister frown, sharp teeth, and long talons, while George looks heroic with his gleaming, undamaged suit of armor.

Excerpt from

Laura Sevelis, DMA label copy (1971.83) for Saints and Monsters: Prints by Albrecht Dürer, March 2015

Fun Facts

  • Emperor Maximilian I, one of Dürer's great patrons, was keenly interested in the Order of Saint George because it was founded by his father.

Web Resources

  • Inside Albrecht Dürer's Studio- Engraving
    Watch this demonstration and explanation of the engraving process created by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute for the exhibition, The Strange World of Albrecht Dürer (November 14, 2010- March 13, 2011).