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Sunday, April 19, 2015

George on my mind


Vittore Carpaccio painted two different versions of St George and the Dragon, respectively in 1501/02 and in 1516, that is before and after the social and religious crisis that hit Venice, what with the League of Cambrai, the shocking wave of Lutheranism, etc. In the second version, not only does Carpaccio find a better dynamic solution for the impact, but he hides some deeper meanings in an apparently simpler picture. First of all, the dragon, which in the first version looked like a huge snake, is changed into a sort of wolf, the symbol of economical and political greed, see Dante, Ariosto, etc. Secondly, there is something more female to George, maybe thus hinting at Jeanne d'Arc, the alleged "heretic" who however saved her country from foreign invaders, who -- in this case -- can be identified with the German Empire, Turkey, and even Papacy.