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Relief - St. George and the Dragon
  • St. George and the Dragon
    Donatello, born 1385 - died 1466
  • Enlarge image

St. George and the Dragon

  • Object:

    Relief

  • Place of origin:

    Florence (made)

  • Date:

    probably 16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Donatello, born 1385 - died 1466 (after)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Stucco, painted and gilded in low relief

  • Museum number:

    7607&A-1861

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 64a, The Robert H. Smith Gallery, case WW []

This relief is a cast from the marble relief of Donatello’s St George and the Dragon, which was carved at the foot of the niche for his statue of St George on Orsanmichele, Florence in 1417. The marble relief is the first example in Donatello’s work of shallow relief carving and includes linear perspective. The stucco replica perhaps dates from the 16th century. The replica does not represent the full height of the marble relief and is slightly cut above the horse’s head and beneath the hooves. The areas to the right of the princess and to the left of the entrance to the cave are also omitted. The stucco is broken irregularly down the right edge and repaired on the left and was perhaps at one time complete. The frame seems to date from the mid 16th century.

Orsanmichele had a double function in the fifteenth century as a church and grain market. In 1404 the guilds of Florence were invited to decorate the niches on its exterior. Each commissioned statues of its patron saint, in bronze for the major guilds and marble for the lesser ones.

Physical description

Relief shows in the centre St. George, in left profile on a rearing horse, drives his spear into the dragon. To the right stands the princess before a portico. Five trees are visible in the distance on the right side of the relief

Place of Origin

Florence (made)

Date

probably 16th century (made)

Artist/maker

Donatello, born 1385 - died 1466 (after)

Materials and Techniques

Stucco, painted and gilded in low relief

Dimensions

Height: 36.8 cm, Width: 81.3 cm

Object history note

The relief is a cast from the marble relief of St. George and the Dragon beneath the tabernacle of he Arte dei Corrazzai on Or San Michele, Florence. The marble relief was carved by Donatello about 1417, and the stucco replica perhaps dates from the sixteenth century. The replica does not represent the full height of the marble relief, and is slightly cut above the horse's head and beneath the hooves.

Descriptive line

Relief, framed in painted and gilded stucco, 'St George and the Dragon', after Donatello, Italy (Florence), probably 16th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1861 In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 29
Maclagan, Eric and Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture. Text. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1932, p. 19
Pope-Hennessy, John. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Volume I: Text. Eighth to Fifteenth Century. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1964, p. 82
Curtis, Penelope, Depth of Field: the place of relief in the time of Donatello, Leeds: Henry Moore Institute, 2004

Labels and date

ST GEORGE AND THE DRAGON
About 1417
After Donatello (about 1386-1466)

This is a partial cast of a marble relief beneath the tabernacle of the Armourers' Guild, originally made for Orsanmichele in Florence. The arcade to the right of the princess (only partially shown in this cast) is one of the most important early examples of linear perspective used to define space.

Italy, Florence

Painted and gilded stucco

Museum no. 7607-1861 [2008]

Materials

Stucco

Techniques

Painting; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Trees; Princess; Spear; Horse; Dragon

Categories

Sculpture; Religion; Christianity

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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