Saint George crushing the dragon
Original acrylic painting on linen canvas
Artwork size : 25.59 x 21.26” / 65 x 54 cm
© Gallery of painter Eric Bourdon
Lille, France, 2023
With the acrylic painting on canvas titled “Saint George crushing the dragon,” Eric Bourdon follows the straight line of a long pictorial, artistic and literary tradition !
In the legend, the dragon extorted tribute from villagers. When they ran out of livestock for the dragon, they started giving up human tributes, chosen by lottery. When one day, the lot fell on the king’s daughter ! The king offered all his gold and silver to have his daughter spared, but the people refused. The princess was sent out to the lake, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon. The saint thereupon rescued the princess and killed the dragon.
The narrative has pre-Christian origins (King Tutankhamen as Harpooner – role equally played by Seth and Horus, spearing hippos, crocodiles or snakes ; the ancient greek myths of Jason and Medea – in which Jason put the “sleepless dragon” to sleep using magical herbs prepared by his witch wife Medea -, Heracles and the Lernaean Hydra, Perseus and Andromeda, Typhon, etc.), and the feat is recorded in various saints’ lives prior to its attribution to Saint George specifically.
The theme of Saint George battling the dragon first appears in western art in the second half of the 13th century. During the Renaissance the subject has been developed by numerous artists, painters and sculptors, notably Donatello, Paolo Uccello, Giovani Bellini, Bernt Notke, Andrea della Robbia, Albrecht Dürer, Raphael, Tintoretto…
Salvador Dalí, Saint George crushing the dragon, bronze
Château de Pommard – Photo © Bill Nanson – burgundy-report.com
Later, Peter Paul Rubens, Gustave Moreau, Giorgio de Chirico continued to chase the dragon, and Salvador Dalí made numerous etchings and bronze sculptures of Saint George, the Catalan artist representing himself fighting a monster whose tongue is a crutch… ‘Sant Jordi’ being also, by the way, the patron saint of Catalonia, as well as of numerous countries and cities all around the world.