Altarpiece decorated with scenes from the life of St George, about 1420. Museum no. 1217-1864

Altarpiece decorated with scenes from the life of St George, about 1420. Museum no. 1217-1864

Altarpiece decorated with scenes from the life of St George
Probably Andrés Marçal de Sas
Spain (Valencia)
About 1420
Tempera and gilding on pine
Height 6 m x width 5.5 m
Museum no. 1217-1864

This altarpiece was painted by a German artist for a chapel in Valencia (Spain) belonging to a confraternity, or brotherhood, dedicated to St George. According to legend St George had served in the Roman army. Sixteen panels show various bloodthirsty scenes from his life and death, but the image of the Slaying of the Dragon is the biggest and most prominent. The version of the legend which is depicted here is set in Silene in Libya, where a dragon threatening the city had to be pacified by the frequent sacrifice of a man and a sheep. When the King's daughter (here pictured in the background with the sheep) drew the fatal lot, and was led to be eaten by the dragon, St George intervened and pierced the monster with his lance.