When the Saints Go Arting In: George
In the stories of Catholicism, which are totally true, there are lots of completely real things, like dragons.
Saint George definitely killed at least one dragon. He certainly killed all of the dragons that artists may have otherwise used for reference when they were painting him. A shame. Still, the English love him, provided England is a real thing? No way of knowing for sure.
Anyway, I guess there are either a) lots of different species of dragon, or b) dragons are made up and everyone just paints whatever they want.
Johann Konig gets it. He paints what we expect from a dragon — lizardy, wings, talons, teeth, scales and fire — albeit in an extremely cute package. Look at that little guy with the spear in his throat, adorable. That is one fat horse, though (no judgement).
But then we get a bit of a situation. We’ve got a dragon with the body of a Shetland pony, the wings of a seagull, and the head of lovable TV alien ALF after a close shave. This dragon is a mess, a total platypus.
I don’t know what Paolo Uccello did when he wasn’t painting pictures, but I suspect he didn’t stay away from Pokemon absolutely all of the time.
Uccello even had two goes at painting it, and at no point did he go “hey yeah, arms”. Not a fan of the old dragon arms was Paolo, but a devoted fan of spotty wings and pig’s tails.
That’s a goat, mate. Big hero, killing a goat. Think of all the yoghurt you could have made.
Raphael thought “hmmmm, what’s the scariest thing in the whole world” and landed on ‘angry chihuahua with duck feet’ which to be honest is spot on. Big fat horse, too (no judgement).
Then there’s this nightmarish chunk from Rogier van der Weyden who chucked in a few skulls and bones strewn about in case we weren’t already completely unsettled by mister big mouth tiny ears down there. We shouldn’t be too hard on Rogier though, poor guy ran out of white paint just as he was ready to paint the horse’s head.
That’s just a lizard, Leonhard Beck. A big lizard with an uncomfortable amount of care taken to depict its anatomically-correct cloaca, but still a lizard.
Vasari and Stradano figured a dragon was just a striped, hairy bird and then got down to their first love, painting dessicated cadavers lying in a field without explanation (no judgement).
Okay, I’m pretty much done. I barely want to even glance down at the horrors Rubens is escorting up my esophagus with this thing, but happily I am far, far too distracted by this utter Beyoncé of horses and the fact that George is almost accidentally stabbing his girlfriend in the eye.
No wait, that other thing has man hands and is trying to drag the broken remnants of a lance out of the roof of its mouth. I am NOT ready for that jelly.