Collection Online

Saint George slaying the dragon
(c. 1430)

Medium
oil, tempera and silver leaf on wood panel
Measurements
62.2 × 38.8 cm
Place/s of Execution
Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Accession Number
2124-4
Department
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1949
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
14th - 16th Century Gallery - Painting & Decorative Arts
Level 1, NGV International
About
The Florentine master Paolo Uccello is thought to have painted this panel around 1430 while in Venice, where he had been hired to restore the Byzantine mosaics of San Marco. The subject of St George and the dragon was an allegory about Christian conversion. According to Voragine’s Golden Legend (c.1250), St George rescued a pagan Libyan princess from being sacrificed to a dragon. Knocked to the ground and with his spear broken, George dispatched the monster by driving a sword between its scales. He then converted the Libyan people to Christ. It has been suggested that the popularity of this militaristic subject in Venice was linked to the city’s rising tensions with nearby Ottoman Turkey.