Collection Online

St George slaying the dragon
(c. 1430)

oil, tempera and silver leaf on wood panel
62.2 × 38.8 cm
Place/s of Execution
Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1949
Gallery location
Not on display
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.