Peter Paul Rubens: Saint George and the Dragon (1606-1608)
(Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain)
This is a very popular subject for painters. The oldest depictions are from the 10th century and has been popular ever since. According to Legenda sanctorum or Legenda aurea, this story took place in Libya at a fictional city. Near the city a dragon dwelled which devestated the countryside. To appease the dragon, the people of the city sacrificed a child every time. This time the daughter of the king was chosen by lot. the daughter was sent to the lake were the dragon has his home. By change Saint George was in the neighbourhood and saw the girl. Saint George armed himself with the sign of the cross, attacked and defeated the dragon. Rubens painted the story in his typical extravagant style and is full of energy. Notice how the girl on the left also holds a lamb, the Lamb of God. Saint George not only protects the girl but also Christianity from its enemies. Painting from 1606 - 1608.