Saint George and the Dragon
, one of two versions of the theme by the artist, belonged to a series of miniature panels that Raphael painted in Florence for the celebrated court of Urbino.
A Roman soldier of Christian faith, Saint George saved the daughter of a pagan king by subduing a dragon with his lance; the princess then led the dragon to the city, where the saint killed it
with his sword, prompting the king and his subjects to convert to Christianity.
Like the Saint Michael and the Dragon
, to which this Saint George is closely related, the action takes place along the central axis of the picture, and once more
the protagonist has raised his sword, prepared to deliver the coup de grace. The dragon had already been mortally wounded by the thrust of a lance, now broken from the force of the blow. The
strong decorative and coloristic counterpoint offered by the redand-white-striped fragments of the pole beneath the white horse was added to the conception of the scene at a point subsequent
to the elegant study for the picture in the Uffizi Gallery, where a few bones of the dragon's previous victims are haphazardly placed instead. The princess flees toward the right, out of the
picture in the middle distance; on the opposite side, leafy trees break the skyline, while at the horizon the landscape recedes into the infinite distance.