Object ID
2005.8.27
Object Name
Painting
Date Created
1920
Measurements
24.2900200000 cm. W Image is 9.75 by 7.063 inches., Item (Overall)
Medium
Paint
Material
Wood
Object Entities
Theodoracopulos, Theodore (is related to)
George, Saint (is related to)
Access Points
Object Description
Painted wood icon with paper on back with a metal hook for hanging. There is some writing in greek on back. The paper on the back is staining and cracking. The front is scuffed, bottom left corner is chipped, scratches and chips on image and vertical creases on image. The icon is of St. George slaying a dragon. St. George is riding on a white horse with a yellow and red bridle and a green saddle with stirrups. St. George is holding a spear pointing at the fire coming out of the dragon's mouth. He is wearing blue armor with a yellow cross on the front and white sleeves. There is a red fabric crossing across his chest and flowing behind him. He has brown hair and a circle around his head. He is wearing white stockings with black boots and yellow socks. The dragon is lying between the horse's rear legs and looking up at the saint. It is green with yellow wings and a red ruff going down its spine. The background is a faded green, with a sillhouette of a hill in the background. In the top left corner, it says "Saint George" in Greek. There is a thick wooden border around the painting. The writing on the back is in Greek, with the year "1920."
Origin
Saint George and the dragon, the story that this icon depicts, is a commonly told story that is thought to have been brought back by the Crusaders. There are two adaptions of the story. The first is that there was a dragon that made its nest near the body of water that the people of Silene (thought to possibly be modern day Cyrene in Lybia) needed to get their water from. Daily, they would have to distract the dragon in order to draw water for their town. At first, they would offer a sheep, but if no sheep were available, then maidens were soon chosen from a random selection to be thrown to the dragon. One day, this random selection happened to be the princess. The monarch begged for her life to be spared, but his wish was not granted. Just as the princess prepared to be given to the dragon, then came St. George from his travels. Protected by the sign of the cross, he defeats the dragon. It is said that the people of the city of Silene then abandoned their ancestral pageanism and converted to Christianity. The other adaptation of this tale is that the dragon that is being slayn in the icon, stands for a pagean cult. St. George is seen as defeating that, because of his common association with being a martyr for Christianity. After losing both of his parents as a young adult, St. George presented himself to Emperor Diocletian to apply for a career as a solider. St. George's father had been a very loyal and admired soldier, and because of that, Emperor Diocletian welcomed St. George with open arms. He was soon promoted to be an imperial guard for the Emperor at Nicomedia. Diocletian soon ordered for all Christian soldiers to be arrested and for the other soldiers to offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods. St. George confronted Emperor Diocletian and professed his faith and his disagreement with the Emperor's decision. The Emperor, not wanting to lose one of his best soldiers, tried to get St. George to convert, but he would not. He was sentenced to torture and death, and is hailed as a leader, an example of Christianity, and a martyr.
Rights and Reproduction
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Citation
Painting, 1920, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/6349. Accessed 01/19/21.