|Saint George, Martyr -
Died ca. 300
St. George is among the best known of the saints, and many modern children have heard the story of his conquest of the dragon that had beset an entire kingdom. Less well known elements in the legend are the kingdom's consequent conversion to Christianity, St. George's renunciation of knighthood, and his martyrdom.
In portraits St. George wears contemporary armor and usually carries a spear. The armor is often elaborate and expensive, as at left, perhaps in reference to the riches he renounced when he left the knightly profession. (But see Dosso's more psychological portrait.) In late medieval images his hair is often curly and blond. Usually the defeated dragon is at his feet.
Feast day: April 23
At left, Crivelli's portrait in the Metropolitan
Window in the Cloisters, New York
1460 painting of the slaying of the dragon
20th century reredos in New York