Prague St George Slaying Dragon Statue

Saint george slaying dragon sculpture, Czech Republic, Prague

Public Art: St George Slaying the Dragon statue

Sculptor:© unknown

Copy : Jozsef Rona

Description: A gothic bronze statue of St George slaying the dragon from his trusty stead. This is a copy of the original that now resides in the National Gallery. St George is depicted on horseback, driving a spear into the mouth of the dragon. The dragon is attempting to bite the leg of the St George and it has its tail wrapped around the horse's leg. The scene takes place on a rocky lanscape and the sculptor has included small reptile creatures such as a frog, lizard and snake.

Date Unveiled: The original sculpture is believed to have been made c.1373. The copies were completed and delivered on the 19th october 1903. The official unveiling was on 28th September, 1904 in Lucian Blaga Square but due to the increase in traffic it was moved to its current place in front of the Reformed Church

Cast by: The original sculpture was cast by George and Martin of Kluj or Petr Parler using the technique of lost-wax casting (cire-perdue). This process involves molten metal being poured into a mold that has been created from a wax model. Once the mold is made the wax model is melted and drained away.

Commissioned: The statue was commissioned for Emperor Charles IV of Luxembourg

Location: St George is located in the third courtyard of the Prague Castle, Prague, Czech Republic.

Inscription:

In the year of our Lord, 1373, this work with the image of St George was moulded by Martinus and Georgius of Clussenberch

Trivia: The St George statue is Czech's first known piece of public art (ie. erected in a public place).

Background to the statue: Though the statue is believed to have been cast by Martinus and Georgius in 1373, historians have been unable to verify the sculptor.

The statue was damaged in 1541 due to a castle fire and subsequently repaired.

In 1895 a historian suggested that a copy of the statue be made and the city council agreed upon raising funds of 1000 crowns for the project.

On the suggestion of King Francis Joseph, two copies were to be made. Sculptor Jozsef Rona was given the task of reproducing the bronze and it was cast at the Hazai Muerczontode foundry in Budapest. The statue's pedestal and wrought iron fence was designed by architect Kalman Lux. The central motif on the fence includes a lily decoration with represents the Anjou family.

The new statue was completed in October 1903 and unveiled on the 28th of September, 1904 in what would become known as St George's Square. In the 1960s the statue was again moved due to the increase in traffic to its current location in front of the Reformed Church in M Kogalniceanu Street.

Background of St George : St George was claimed to be a Christian martyr who was born in Palestine. St George became a Roman soldier (like his father) who ironically became a member of the personal guard attached to Roman Emperor Diocletian. Emperor Diocletian, not being a very nice man, ordered the persecution of Christians in AD303. George was ordered to participate in the killing and torture but refused and instead declared himself a Christian. This did not make the emperor very happy and he ordered the torture and execution of his guard. After being put through the most ghastliest of tortures, George was decapitated. So horrified was one witness that when he told  Empress Alexandra and Athanasiusto of George's plight he convinced them to become Christians, so they too could joined George in martyrdom. George's body was returned to Lydda where Christians soon headed there to honor him. In 494, George was canonised as a saint by Pope Gelasius I.

Background of St George and the Dragon : So how did the connection between St George and the Dragon develop? There are many versions and legends about "St George and the Dragon" but one of the Western versions goes something like this; A dragon living near the city of Lydda (or city of Silene in Libya) decides to make its nest right near the spring which provides the water supply to the city. The desperate locals, who were unable to retrieve the water from the spring, had to devised a plan quickly. So they decided that each day they would choose a sheep or a virgin (by drawing lots) to be sacrificed to the dragon. The reasoning was that the dragon would have to move off its nest to devour the poor soul thus allowing the city folk to grab the water from the spring. One day a poor princess drew the short straw (so to speak) and despite objections from the monarchy was sent off to become the dragon's next feed. St George who was riding through the city, minding his own business, sees the princess in distress and bravely confronts the fiery beast. He raises his lance and slays the dragon. So grateful are the city folk they abandon their paganistic ways and convert to Christianity.

Other myths and  legends include , the battle between the storm god Tarhun and the dragon Illuyankas, the story of Perseus who kills the Dragon saving thus the maiden Andromeda, or the defeat of Typhon by Zeus.

References: www.visitclujnapoca.ro

RSS  Public-Art-Around-The-World

 

If All Else Fails, Search!