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Saint George Slaying the Dragon

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448.     ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN ICON. [Saint George Slaying the Dragon]. N.p., n.d. 26.5 x 19.5 cm. Icon with silver-plated ornate bas relief riza with enamel painted face of Saint George. Mounted on old wooden board. Very good condition.

     Icons have a long, rich, and complex history in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. They are typically painted on wood, and the subjects—Jesus, Mary, a saint, angels—are depicted in a highly stylized manner with distinctive associated symbolism. Often an icon is covered with a “riza” or “oklad,” a protective metal cover, usually gilt or silvered, ornately incised in bas relief with the figure of the person beneath and other decorative details. The riza will leave openings for the face and hands of the painted image to show through. In design and purpose, the riza both honors and protects the icon underneath. Icons are venerated but not worshipped, the icon serving as a passage through which a person reverencing the icon honors the person depicted.

     Saint George is one of Christianity’s most popular and honored saints, and one of the most depicted saints in Orthodox iconography. He is the patron saint of Russia, Greece, Georgia, England, and Portugal as well as many other countries, autonomous regions, cities, and towns. The legend of Saint George slaying the dragon to save the princess has come to symbolize the struggle and triumph of good over evil, and in medieval times Saint George became the model of the chivalric knight. The saint serves as a heroic example to young men of every time and is often invoked as a protector of soldiers.


Sold. Hammer: $500.00; Price Realized: $600.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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