Private collection, France
The present panel depicting Saint George and the Dragon was originally part of an altarpiece produced in Spain in the first quarter of the 16th century. Flanked by angels, the winged saint spears the horned and clawed beast who weighs the souls of the dammed.
Originating in the Golden Legend, the tale of Saint George and the Dragon tells the story of a town in Libya that is preyed upon by a plague-bearing dragon. The townspeople appease the beast by feeding it two sheep a day until they eventually run out of livestock and are forced to sacrifice their daughters, one a day chosen by lot. When the king’s own daughter is selected to be fed to the dragon, he makes desperate appeals to his countrymen to spare her, but is refused. Dressed as a virginal bride, the princess goes to her fate, but just as the dragon appears, so does a travelling Christian knight. Saint George valiantly slays the dragon, thereby saving the princess and the town, which subsequently converts to Christianity in response to the crusader’s rescue.
This work is in excellent condition with extensive remains of the orignal polychrome and gilding.