The battle of St. George with the dragon. Ok by Vitale da Bologna

The battle of St. George with the dragon. Ok by Vitale da Bologna

This painting – one of the three signed works of the artist, a masterpiece of the mature period of his work. It was performed at one time with a fresco cycle dedicated to the life of St. Magdalene, for the Bologna church Santa Maria dei Servi and originally belonged to the altar of the Bologna church of St. George. The image concentrates on the dramatic climax of the struggle.

A knight jumping on a white horse is striking a dragon with a spear. A frightened horse turns his head away, wants to run off, but the rider, with his left hand pulling on the bridle, resolutely rushes to the enemy. The power

of the knight is evidenced by the straight line of the unbending spear. Parallel to this diagonal, but in the opposite direction, the passionate movement of the turned head of the horse is directed. The frightened fury of a dragon with an open mouth and protruding eyes seems to be transmitted to the horse: it is expressed in the same type of heads rotated in the same direction.

Above the right in the same direction is written the prone head of the princess, but she supports the knight. This diagonal axis is crossed by the line of the horse and rider’s bodies, the steep slope of the mountain. These two axes not only cross each other, but are also closely interrelated. Dramatic tension is also enhanced by the dynamic rhythm of lines, the contrast of live, pure colors. The contours of the figure of the knight are also very dynamic, they clearly appear on a dark blue background. The picture was cut off from all sides. Originally it was framed by a pattern in the Cosmatheco style, part of which is visible at the top right and left.

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