A German parcel-gilt silver equestrian figure of St. George, most probably Melchior Gelb I, Augsburg, circa 1640
the detachable figure on a rearing horse and domed base chased to simulate a rocky forest floor, corrugated rim, marked on base
23cm., 9in. high overall, 16cm., 6 1/4 in. long
734gr., 23oz. 11dwt.
About this work. The figure is intently studying the ground for his prey, where a separate sculpture of the dragon, enemy of the Christian knight, could be imagined. An Augsburg ewer of 1654 in the form of an equestrian group, with the horse similarly jumping, not over a dragon but over a fallen Turkish warrior, was formerly in the collection of the Princes Esterházy von Galantha. It represents László Esterházy who died fighting the Turks at the battle of Nagyvezekény in 1652.2
In the fully developed Western version of the Saint George Legend, a dragon, or crocodile, makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of "Silene" (perhaps modern Cyrene in Libya or the city of Lydda in Palistine, depending on the source). Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, and if no sheep can be found, then a maiden is the best substitute for one. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but then Saint George appears on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the Cross, slays the dragon, and rescues the princess. The citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity. Moraint