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Saint George and the Dragon

circle of Michael Pacher (Bruneck c.1435 – Salzburg 1498)

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

1470 - 1499

Materials

Oil on panel (softwood)

Measurements

540 x 400 mm (21 1/4 x 15 3/4 in)

Place of origin

Germany

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Collection

Upton House, Warwickshire (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Upton House, Midlands, National Trust

NT 446802

Caption

This picture is painted on a very thin panel, which suggests that at some point, it was divided. This supports the suggestion that it formed the shutter of an altarpiece, with another painting on the reverse. Pacher was an Austrian Tyrolean painter and sculptor, whose best-known work is the altarpiece at the church in the village of St. Wolfgang, in Austria. He was inspired by Northern Italian artists, such as Mantegna. If this panel is not by Pacher himself, it must be by an able follower.

Summary

Oil painting on softwood panel with canvas backing, Saint George and the Dragon, attrributed to the circle of Michael Pacher (c.1435-1498). The present panel, which has been built up at the back, is only 4 mm thick, including gesso layer. This suggests that at some period it has been divided, and supports the hypothesis that the St George formed the shutter of an altarpiece with another painting on the reverse. St. George stands half length, looking down at the exiguous dragon into which he thrusts his sword; he wears armour and a green cloak thrown over his shoulders; an ornamental band encircles his forehead, from which his hair falls to his shoulders; in his mailed left hand he grasps a staff or lance, while his right is raised, gripping the sword; gold background.

Provenance

Andreas Colli (1858 - 1945), art dealer in Innsbruck (according to Upton catalogue). [It is not clear from Speelman's correspondence with Lord Bearsted and Baldass, whether he had acquired the painting from Colli, or whether the idea only arose later, because of the provenance of the Saint Barbara]. In 1937 it appears to have been with an 'English dealer' [= Edward Speelman (1901 - 1994), by whom it had originally been left on approval at the National Gallery] (catalogue of Gotik in Tirol exhibition, Innsbruck, 1950: see entry No. 96). It was acquired by Lord Bearsted in August, 1937, for £800, via Speelman; given with Upton House to the National Trust by Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted (1882 – 1948) shortly before his death in 1948

Credit line

Upton House, The Bearsted Collection (National Trust)

Makers and roles

circle of Michael Pacher (Bruneck c.1435 – Salzburg 1498), artist previously catalogued as attributed to Michael Pacher (Bruneck c.1435 – Salzburg 1498), artist

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