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Icon of St. George (“The Black George”)
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The next few pages all show images of the Christian saint George slaying the dragon. These are just four of the many different versions of this image across the Museum.

This extraordinary icon was discovered in 1959 when it was being used as the shutter of a barn window. Subsequent cleaning by conservators revealed that it had been overpainted several times. Below an XVIII-century folk painting they uncovered a XVII-century layer and finally this outstanding XIV-century icon, which was immediately recognized as an early masterpiece of Russian painting.

The saint is painted in vigorous motion, captured at the moment of slaying the dragon. He stands in his stirrups, reining in his leaping horse, with his red cloak billowing behind. The representation of St. George on a black rather than white horse is extremely rare and accounts for the icon’s popular name, “The Black George”.

Icon of St. George (“The Black George”)


From the village of Pskov, northwestern Russia Byzantine, late XIV century AD.
Ht. 77 cm.



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