St George and The Dragon Sculpture

St George and The Dragon Sculpture

Public Art : St George and The Dragon Sculpture

Sculptor : © Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm (1834-1890)

Date : Purchased by the Gallery of Victoria 1889.

Cost: £1,000

Description : Bronze statue depicting a rather naked St George (except for his Roman soldier cape and helmet) on his rearing horse, as he slays the Dragon. Note the terrified look on the horse's face.

Location : Forecourt of the State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne, Australia.

History : The Bronze statue of St George and the Dragon by Sir Joseph Boehm was purchased in 1889 from the Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition.

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.

Trivia: Joseph Edgar Boehm was responsible for the design of Queen Victoria's head found on coins.

St George is the patron saint of Aragón, Canada, Catalonia, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Russia, Palestine, and the cities of Beirut, Ljubljana, Freiburg and Moscow.

Traditionally, the lance with which St. George slew the dragon was called Ascalon, named after the city of Ashkelon, Israel.

St George and The Dragon Sculpture, Melbourne, Australia  St George and The Dragon Sculpture, Melbourne, Australia  St George and The Dragon Sculpture, Melbourne, Australia

St George and The Dragon Sculpture, Melbourne, Australia  St George and The Dragon Sculpture, Melbourne, Australia

St George and the Dragon Statues from Around the World :

 St Geoge fighting the dragon, Berlin, Germany  St George and the Dragon, Melbourne, Australia

       St George (Berlin)             St George (Melbourne)

Works By Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm :

Queen Victoria, Sydney, Australia 

      Queen Victoria         St George & the Dragon


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