Saint George Slaying the Dragon - carlo crivelli, 1470

carlo crivelli (Venice, about 1430-1435 - before 1495, Ascoli Piceno)

Saint George Slaying the Dragon, 1470

Gold, silver and tempera on panel, 93.9 x 48.5 cm (36 15/16 x 19 1/8 in.)

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Object details

Accession number

P16e13

Dimension Notes

Frame: 137.8 x 88.9 x 13.03 cm (54 1/4 x 35 x 5 1/8 in.)

Provenance

Commissioned for the church of San Giorgio, Porto San Giorgio, 1470. (one of six panels)
Recorded in situ on the high altar of the church of San Giorgio, Porto San Giorgio, 1771.
Church demolished in 1803 and the altarpiece moved to the church of the Suffragio, Porto San Giorgio.
Collection of the Salvadori family, Casa Salvadori, Porto San Giorgio by 1832.
Purchased by Henry Hudson, Portuguese Embassy, Rome from Luigi Salvadori, Rome for 90 scudi (for five panels).
In the collection of William Ward Dudley (d.1885), 1st Earl, Witley Court, Worcestershire, England by 1851.
Purchased by the art dealers Colnaghi & Co. at auction from the sale of William Ward Dudley's collection at Christie, Manson & Woods, London on 7 April 1876, lot 135, five panels.
In the collection of Frederick R. Leyland (1832–1892), ship owner and art patron, London by 1882.
Purchased by Stuart M. Samuel at auction from the sale of the Frederick R. Leyland collection at Christie, Manson & Woods, London on 28 May 1892 for £546 through an intermediary named Davis, lot 99. Still in his collection in 1895.
With the art dealers Colnaghi & Co., London by 1897.
Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from Colnaghi & Co., London in December 1897 for £3500 through Bernard Berenson (1865–1959), American art historian.

Marks

Stamped number in black (verso upper portion of vertical batten): indecipherable

Bibliography

Christie, Manson and Woods. Catalogue of the valuable collection of ancient and modern pictures of William Rixon, Esq... and from the collection of a nobleman... (London, 7 April 1876), p. 17, lot 135.
Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters, and by Deceased Masters of the British School. Winter Exhibition. Thirteenth Year. Exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy, 1882), p. 41, no. 194.
Christie, Manson and Woods. Catalogue of the very valuable collection of ancient and modern pictures of Frederick Richards Leyland, Esq. (London, 28 May 1892), p. 22, no. 99.
William Roberts. Memorials of Christie's: A Record of Art Sales from 1766 to 1896, vol. 2 (London, 1897), pp. 189-90.
Catalogue. Fenway Court. (Boston, 1903), p. 10.
Bernard Berenson. "Venetian Paintings in the United States: Part Two." Art in America, vol. 3 (1915), p. 110, fig. 4.
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 115.
Philip Hendy. Catalogue of the Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), pp. 111-16, ill.
Stuart Preston. "Saint George and the Dragon" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 16, ill. 17.
Morris Carter. "Mrs. Gardner & The Treasures of Fenway Court" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 58.
Michel Laclotte. "Mantegna and Crivelli." L'Oeil. No. 85 (Jan. 1962), pp. 28-37.
“Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 7, no. 25 (16 Feb. 1964), p. 2.
Rollin Hadley. “Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 8, no. 34 (25 Apr. 1965), p. 2.
George L. Stout. Treasures from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1969), pp. 118-19, ill.
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 64-68, ill. and pl. 8.
Rollin van N. Hadley. Museums Discovered: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. (Boston, 1981), pp. 36-37, ill.
Pietro Zampetti. Carlo Crivelli (Florence, 1986), pp. 66-71, 256, no. 8.
Rollin van N. Hadley (ed.). The Letters of Bernard Berenson and Isabella Stewart Gardner 1887-1924 (Boston, 1987), pp. 101-106, 109, 111, 117, 120-21,124, 158, 177, 203, 206, 224, 274-75.
Erica E. Hirshler. "Mrs. Gardner's Rival: Susan Cornelia Warren and her Art Collection." Fenway Court (1988), pp. 49-50.
Stephen Campbell and Alan Chong. Cosmè Tura: Painting and Design in Renaissance Ferrara. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2002), p. 93, 95, 96, 98, fig. 37.
Alan Chong et al. (eds.) Eye of the Beholder: Masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 2003), pp. 56-57, ill.
Ronald Lightbown. "The Porto San Giorgio Altarpiece: The Virgin and Child; Sts Peter, Paul, George" in Carlo Crivelli (New Haven, 2004), pp. 109-118. fig. 26.
Debora Tosato. "La prima attività di Crivelli tra Venezia, Padova e le Marche" in Crivelli e Brera (Milan, 2009), pp. 58-73, fig. 8.
Fausto Calderai and Alan Chong. Furnishing a Museum: Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Collection of Italian Furniture (Boston, 2011), p. 296, ill. (illustration of planning list for the Gothic Room, late 1890s)
Jeremy Howard. "Colnaghi, Bernard Berenson and Mrs. Gardner's first Botticelli" in Colnaghi. Colnaghi Past, Present, and Future: An Anthology (London, 2016), pp. 21, 60-61, fig. 7.
Stephen J. Campell. "On the Importance of Crivelli" in Stephen J. Cambell (ed.). Ornament & Illusion: Carlo Crivelli of Venice. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2015), p. 11.
Oliver Tostmann. "An 'Inordinate' Passion? Carlo Crivelli and His Reception in America" in Stephen J. Cambell (ed.). Ornament & Illusion: Carlo Crivelli of Venice. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2015), pp. 113-14, 121-23.
Gianfranco Pocobene. "Carlo Crivelli's St. George Slaying the Dragon: Materiality, Facture, and Restoration" in Stephen J. Cambell (ed.). Ornament & Illusion: Carlo Crivelli of Venice. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2015), pp. 132-44, figs. 64-74.
Stephen J. Campell. "Carlo Crivelli: The Porto San Giorgio altarpiece, 1470" in Stephen J. Cambell (ed.). Ornament & Illusion: Carlo Crivelli of Venice (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2015), pp. 154-63, no. 6, fig. 77.
Liliana Leopardi. "Review of Exhibition, Ornament and Illusion: Carlo Crivelli of Venice..." Renaissance Studies (August 2016), pp. 1-3, fig. 1.


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Commentary

Charged with excitement and bristling with spiky forms, Saint George Slaying the Dragon is one of Carlo Crivelli’s masterpieces. Although the artist worked for more than thirty years after painting it, he never produced anything quite so full of vigor and imagination. What could be more dramatic than the contrast between the rearing horse, its head distorted with fear, and the tender saint, his eyes fixed on the dragon he is about to slaughter? Crivelli’s saint is no robust hero, but a slim boy who must use all his might to wield his heavy sword. The jutting shapes of his armor are echoed in the towers of the hill town in the background. On a cliff just below it, kneels the tiny figure of the princess who was to be the dragon’s next victim.

Few paintings in the Gardner Museum are more self-sufficient. Yet Crivelli’s Saint George originated as part of a large altarpiece. Crivelli made the altarpiece for the parish church of Porta San Giorgio, a village near Fermo on the Adriatic coast. It was commissioned by an Albanian immigrant, Giorgio Salvadori.

Source: Everett Fahy (1978), "Saint George Slaying the Dragon," in Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 57.