St George

The evolution of a saint and his dragon.

Portrait of St George by Hans von Kulmbach (circa 1510).
Portrait of St George by Hans von Kulmbach (circa 1510).

The conventional image of St. George is familiar to us all; the knight thrusting his lance down the gullet of a ferocious monster, or slashing at it with his sword, while the princess looks on with an expression of becoming piety. St. George and his dragon are as firmly fixed in art as in the popular imagination. What was the origin of this legend? Who was St. George, and what was the dragon?

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