ST GEORGE THE DRAGON-SLAYER - THE ETERNAL PILGRIM WITHOUT A HOME?
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The article suggests some new ways of understanding the 'place' of the St George sculpture (work of the metalworkers Martin and George of Cluj/Klausenburg/Kolozsvár/, executed 1373) in the court art of the second half of the 14th century, inspired primarily by the Italian milieu. The sculpture cannot be classified as an equestrian monument. It depicts the culminating moment of the St George legend of Jacobus de Voragine, when the saint on horseback strikes the dragon to the ground with his lance, so that the princess can then lead it off, attached to her belt, to the liberated city. The composition is defined by the main vertical axis, represented by the (lost) lance, around which the horse, rider and dragon turn. Among medieval monuments, it is the only surviving execution of this motif in a large, three-dimensional bronze work. The motif, with its dynamic, revolving composition, is frequently found in paintings and reliefs. Aside from reliefs and small statues, author draws attention to the closest analogy to the Prague sculpture: the illusive painting of a St George sculpture on a bracket, executed by Giovannino dei Grassi on the jamb of the northern sacristy in the Milan cathedral in 1395. On that occasion, Giangaleazzo was elevated to a dukedom by Václav IV, King of Bohemia and of the Romans (or rather, by his plenipotentiary Benes of Choustník). Even if, in the future, the court at which the Prague sculpture was made is identified, along with the person who commissioned it and the person who designed the model (including confirmation of the role of the brothers of Cluj), even if the journey of the sculpture to Prague is reconstructed, the work will remain a testimony to the inspiring influence of the northern Italian milieu.
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