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Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553), St. George and the Dragon
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The artist Lucas Cranach the Elder created many different images of St. George and the Dragon, reflecting how popular St. George was as subject matter for many late medieval and Renaissance artists in Europe.

This particular image, a sumptuously coloured print, is probably the earliest chiaroscuro (“light-dark”) woodcut. To achieve this dramatic contrast, woodblocks were overprinted with differently coloured inks. The black line block was printed first and then the second block was printed, probably with glue, on to which the gold leaf was applied. The background highlights were added by scraping some colour from the paper.

In 1507 Cranach’s patron Frederick III, elector of Saxony, sent a proof impression of this print to Conrad Peutinger, a councillor to the future Emperor Maximilian I. At that time Maximilian was seeking to promote the status of the Order of St. George, so the figure of the knight may represent Maximilian in the guise of the saint.

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553), St. George and the Dragon

From Germany, c. AD 1507.
Ht. 23,3 cm.

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