St. George and the Dragon is a small oil painting on poplar by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael in 1506. It is in the collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Raphael had created another version earlier about the same theme of George fighting with the dragon, which is now in the Louvre in Paris.
This religious painting was commissioned by Raphael’s patron Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, the Duke of Urbino, who was award order by King Henry VII of England in 1504, to present gratitude to Henry. The saint in the painting wears a blue garter of the English Order of the Garter, which reflect the honor and award. George rides on a strong horse, wearing a elaborate armor. He is stabbing the spear into the throat of the dragon and saves the young girl.
The St. George and the Dragon is a well-known British legend, according to the Golden Legend, which happened in a place called Libya. St. George was a knight and when he travelled to Libya, he was told that everyone there was in great panic for the country was ravaged by a horrible poisonous dragon. The dragon demanded the sacrifice of a girl every day and all the young girls had been killed except the king’s daughter who was about to be killed unless a knight could kill the dragon. George fought with the beast fiercely and finally slain it with his sword. The blood of the dragon flowed onto the ground and formed a shape of cross, which influence the design of Britain’s nation flag. In 12 century, when the Crusades marched the place where George kill dragon, the British army made a complete victory. Therefore St. George is considered as the guardian of the Britain.