'Saint George and the Dragon', about 1460
by Paolo Uccello
London, The National Gallery
Two different parts of the story of Saint George and the dragon can be seen in this picture. One shows the moment when the saint arrives to drive his lance through the dragon which had been terrorising a nearby city. In a later part of the story, the princess, who was to be eaten by the dragon, tames it by using her belt as a leash.
Behind the unusual two-limbed dragon is a large, watery cave. It may be evening, or early morning, as there is a tiny crescent moon in the sky. A storm is gathering. The eye of the storm lines up with Saint George's lance, which suggests that God is guiding it. The strange patches of grass and the coloured discs on the dragon's wings are typical of Uccello, who was fascinated with pattern and perspective.
The story comes from 'The Golden Legend', a popular collection of saints' lives written in the 13th century.
Click here to view work from the 2003 exhibition, inspired by this painting.
© The National Gallery, London