A Post for Today, April 23

Another year’s worth of St. George images from the vault, kindly sent to me by friends, or gleaned from Internet browsing. 

1. Two renditions of the arms of a church of St. George in Hartford, South Dakota. 

2. From Chris Berard: a masked St. George fights the coronavirus. (St. George was a healing saint in the Middle Ages.) 

3. Chris Berard also alerted me to the existence of The Life and Death of St. George, To which is Added, The Song of St. George and the Dragon (1790). This engraving appears on the frontispiece. 

4. From the Facebook page of the Society of Bollandists: St. George as drawn by Salvador Dali (1971). 

5. From the Heraldic Bookplates Facebook group. 

6. From Facebook. Apparently this was put up somewhere in England, a mocking replacement for those statues that that mob tore down last spring. It shows a typical English prole – fat, poorly-dressed, and phone-addicted – emerging from a dumpster like Oscar the Grouch. For added insult, the legend “St George was Turkish” is emblazoned on the dumpster, outside his line of sight, a riposte to his notion that St George, England’s national saint, was English.

It’s true that St George, if he ever existed, never set foot in what is now England, and cannot possibly be considered ethnically “English.” But by the same token, he wasn’t Turkish either. He may have been from Cappadocia, and he may have been martyred at Nicomedia, both in what is now Turkey, but he was no more “Turkish” than some Woodland Indian c. 500 BC was “American.” In AD 303 the Turks were in Central Asia, nowhere near Anatolia. Only after AD 1071 did they start to take the place over.

He was probably ethnically Greek, hence his Greek name Georgios. But I guess it is extra insulting to the prole to cast his saint as Muslim and non-Indo-European.

7. From Wikipedia: Mattia Preti, St George and the Dragon (1678). 

8. From my colleague Pam Wilson, who took this photograph in Barcelona. 

9. I took this photo in Montreal in 2006. Pistrucci’s rendition of St. George as it appeared on the sovereign coin turned out to be very influential. 

10. From Paul Halsall: Sir Ninian Comper’s St Sebastian Altarpiece at Downside Abbey, which also features St. George and St. Nicholas. 

11. I took this in Southwark Cathedral in 2010. Did Comper do it too? It’s pretty much identical to the Downside one above. 

12. I took this one in the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2010. 

wassilykandinsky.net

13. The Expressionist painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) did a number of St. Georges. This one from 1915 is probably the best known. 

14. Arms of James Whiteside Bridges of Montreal, granted by the Canadian Heraldic Authority in 2017.

15. The arms of George Politis, granted by the Canadian Heraldic Authority in 2013.

16. The arms of St. George’s School, Vancouver, granted by the College of Arms in 1984.

17. Twelve St. Georges representing the Swiss municipalities of Castiel, Chermignon, Corminboeuf, Kaltbrunn, Räzüns, Rümlingen, Liddes, Ruschein, Saint-George, Schanz, Waltensburg, and Stein am Rhein.

18. Il Sodoma, Saint George and the Dragon (c. 1518). 

19. By American artist Leonard Porter (1963).

20. From Walter Crane’s edition of Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene (1894-96).

21. This one never went into circulation. The European Currency Unit was the precursor to the Euro – and had the further advantage in that “Écu” was once the name of a French coin. I just like the fact that St. George is not bearing his familiar red cross shield, but the three lions of the kings of England. 

22. Initial Q, Recueil des Hystoires Troyennes, printed by Michel Topie and Jacques Heremberck (1490). 

23. Bernat Martorell, Saint George Killing the Dragon (1430-35).

24. From my friend Natasha Lee, a lithograph by Russian artist Natalia Goncharova, from a series entitled Mystical Images of War: Fourteen Lithographs (1913-14), on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. 

25. Pietro di Lorenzo da Salò, Saint George Fighting the Dragon (1551-52).

26. I can’t find who did this one, but I love the damask background.

27. Lucas Cranach the Elder, St. George with Head of the Dragon (c. 1515).

28. Giovanni Bellini, Pesaro Altarpiece (detail) (1471×1483).

29. “St. George in the Renaissance Style,” by Harry Mate

30. A St. George by heraldic artist Andrew Stewart Jamison.

Wikipedia.

31. The rock band Toto, I discover, composed a song called “St. George and the Dragon,” which is the second track on their album Hydra (1979). Lyrics. YouTube.

32. Tintoretto, St. George and the Dragon (1555).

33. A friend’s Facebook profile picture. 

34. A birthday card from my daughter.

35. St. George and St. Christopher, fifteenth-century wall painting in St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Pickering, N. Yorks. From Wikipedia, courtesy Paul Halsall.

36. “A stained glass window in the Redpath Library at McGill University is ‘in memory of 23 members of the McGill chapter of Delta Upsilon who gave their lives in the Great War.’ St. George, wearing the tabard of Delta Upsilon, stands over a slain dragon.”

37. An Ethiopian St. George posted by my friend Bruce Patterson. Note the toe-stirrup. 

38. A pattern on a tie, a gift from my ever-loving wife. 

Antonio Olmos, BBC.com.

39. From my friend George Goodall: a BBC article on the clocks of Windsor Castle, including one with a sculpture of St. George by Francesco Fanelli.

40. From my former professor Oliver Nicholson, an amusing and topical interpretation of a St. George icon. 

41. From the Facebook Group “Modern Art 20th Century: “Children watch the story of “Saint George and the Dragon” at an outdoor puppet theater in Tuileries Garden, Paris, France, 1963.” Photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt. A comment: “Grande guignol puppets always had that effect on children.”

42. “Icon showing St. George and the youth of Mytilene,” about 1250, probably the Levant. Egg-tempera, pine, gesso. British Museum, PE 1984,0601.1. “This icon depicts a legend about a Christian youth enslaved by Muslims on the island of Crete. As the boy was about to serve his master a glass of wine he was miraculously rescued by St. George and transported back to his homeland. He is shown here behind the saint, still holding the glass. The subject-matter was popular with Christians as a piece of anti-Muslim propaganda. The icon, though resembling those produce in the Byzantine Empire, has certain western European features and may have been produced by a French artist working in the Crusader States.” I took this photo at the British Museum in 2010. 

43. “St. George defeating the dragon, a historiated initial from a Choirbook, illuminated manuscript on vellum [northern Italy (Verona), early 1490s].” From the Southeby’s Catalogue, courtesy Chris Berard. 

44. Phoebe Anna Traquair (Irish, 1852-1936), St George in Armour Being Kissed by Una (1914), detail reproduced on a card. The work is “one of a set of three embroidered panels depicting the Red Cross Knight from Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene. Coloured silks and gold thread on linen.” From the collection of the National Museums of Scotland. Kindly sent to me by my friend Kevin Harty.

45. Also from Kevin Harty: An awesome icon depicting St. George, his horse, the dragon, the princess, the pitcher-bearing boy, and everyone in Silene crowded into a tower. On the reverse: “S&K Greek Traditional Hand-Made Byzantine Icons. This icon is handmade using the old traditional Byzantine technique. It is an authentic collector’s copy of an old Byzantine icon painted by well-known iconographer of that day, the monks of the period. Made in the region of Thessaly in a small traditional workshop in Palamas Karditsas, in Greece.”

46. From Kevin Harty: Qes Adamu Tesfaw (Ethiopian, born 1933), Saint George Slaying the Dragon (1997). I love the “demon” riding the dragon. 

47. From the New Yorker (hat tip: Robert Black).

48. A miniature of St. George by heraldic artist Tania Crossingham

https://uepmfmfmfe.blogspot.com/

49. Bob Marley as St. George on the cover of his 1983 album Confrontation, based on the “Britain Needs You At Once” poster

50. “Kay spirituel – a Vodou temple in Pont-Sonde, Haiti (Photo by V. Joos, 2013).” From Practices of Freedom – Marronage in the Caribbean

51. From Medieval Warfare: “A portable Byzantine mosaic in a frame, dating from the fourteenth century. It depicts Saint George slaying the dragon. Now in the Louvre, Paris.” 

Wikipedia.

52. From Wikipedia: the reverse of Haile Selassie’s Imperial Standard. 

53. The insigne of Blue Ridge School of St. George, Va.

54. From Tim Furnish: a Greek fighter jet decorated with an image of St. George and the dragon. Googling reveals that a St. Michael jet also exists. 

55. Woodcut frontispiece from Alexander Barclay’s Lyfe of Seynt George (Westminster, 1515).

56. From the Facebook page of Our Lady of the Mountains (hat tip: Wanda Cronauer), with commentary:

On St. George’s feast day, we might reflect upon this beloved Saint George (for after all we are Georgians). Are there not still places in the world, including some places still in northern Africa, where churches are destroyed and Christian books are burned and even where Christians themselves are threatened and endangered by forces of darkness? Let’s put it this way. The Catholic author G.K. Chesterton once wrote: “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

***

That’s all for this year. Many thanks to everyone who sends me these. And happy St. George’s day! 

2 thoughts on “A Post for Today, April 23

  1. Happy (retrospective) St George’s day 2021 and thank you for the images. Interesting that although slaying the dragon is meant to be a heroic feat, few of these dragons look much of a threat and some are positively puny. The best of the exceptions is your daughter’s birthday card. A good, original reimagining of the usual image. Icing that guy really would be heroic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *