St. George, The Byzantine Martyr

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St. George, pg.1      St. George, pg.2      St. George, pg.3

Saint George, Patron Saint of England and the Scouts

Many of the grand masters of painting, for instance Raphael, Rubens, Durer, and Ucello, have featured Saint George in their arts.  

  • Uganda 1983.  Paintings by Raphael, a set of four featuring various aspects of the myth of St. George Slaying the Dragon.  
  • The Gambia 1977.  Souvenir sheet by P.P. Rubens: "St. George Slays The Dragon".
  • The Kingdom of Yemen 1967.  Ucello (ca. 1400-1475):  "St. George Slaying the Dragon" (Oil painting 1455).  Belongs to the National Gallery, London.   The stamp exists also imperforated.  

Also the German painter Albrecht Durer has depicted St. George.  When I first saw the Hungarian stamp below left, I asked myself: "If this is St. George, where is his Dragon"?  Later, when I found the monstrous stamp below right from Paraguay, I was convinced.  On the latter stamp St. George has his hand on the dragon's head, keeping it down as if it was a dog he wanted to stand still !


The Hungarian stamp (far left) shows the left part of the Paumgartner Altar.  

The Paraguayan stamp (immediately left) is a horrible merger of the left and the right part of the same altar.  The person to the right is St. Eustace.  

The two paintings were made in 1498 in tempera on lime tree, and belong to The Old Pinakothek, Munich (Germany). 

  • Hungary 1978.  Albrecht Durer:  "St. George".
  • Paraguay 1970.  Albrecht Durer:  "St. George & St. Eustace. 

In Italian classical art St. George appears also with great vivacity, in both sculptures and paintings.  The beautiful sculpture below left was specially created for the Church Or San Michele, Florence (Italy), and the double painting of the dramatic killing scene by Carpaccio (below right) belongs to the Vatican.


  • Italy 1956.  St. George.  Sculpture by Donatello, created 1416.   
  • Italy 1976.  St. George's Fight against the Dragon.  Painting by V. Carpaccio (c. 1455-1526). 

St. George is also well known in the Arab world.  Some historians claim that the Ptolemaic Temple of Edfu in Egypt probably shows the origin of St. George's Legend in the bas-relief of "Horus riding and killing Seth, the unknown animal".  

Given the fact that his martyrdom took place at Lydda, Palestine, testified to by two early Syrian church inscriptions and by a canon of Pope Gelasius I, dated 494, in which St. George is mentioned as one whose name was held in reverence, he is also a Muslim saint and the Patron Saint of Palestine; there is not one town in costal Palestine that doesn't have either a church dedicated to St. George, or a mosque dedicated to Al-Khadr, the latter being his Muslim name.  

  • Kingdom of Yemen 1969.  Christmas issue.  Souvenir sheet showing St. George Slaying the Dragon.  The stamp is an icon by an unknown artist.  (Michel # 928, Block 183).  

(The stamp exists also as a low value single stamp, Michel # 919 AB). 

The legend of St. George has equally inspired modern artists, and I find it interesting to see how African Muslim artists have approached this subject.  Below are shown two souvenir sheets from the small West African state Liberia, in a totally different style than the well known and traditional one.  But St. George it is ... :-) 

  • Liberia 2001.  Souvenir sheets featuring characters and tales of the legend of St. George.  

St. George, pg.1      St. George, pg.2      St. George, pg.3

Saint George, Patron Saint of England and the Scouts

Revised 02 nov 2006 
Copyright © by Ann Mette Heindorff
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