Saint George Killing the Dragon

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Bernat Martorell
Spanish, c. 1400–1452

Saint George Killing the Dragon, 1434/35

Tempera on panel
61 1/4 x 38 5/8 in. (155.6 x 98.1 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Richard E. Danielson and Mrs. Chauncey B. McCormick, 1933.786

In the second quarter of the 15th century, Bernat Martorell was the leading painter of Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia in northeastern Spain. Saint George was the patron saint of Catalonia, and Martorell's vivid painting probably once formed the center of the altarpiece of the chapel of the Catalan government in its palace in Barcelona. The central image would have been flanked by smaller narrative panels, now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris; they illustrate the martyrdom of the saint in gruesome detail.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Barcelona, Academia de Bellas Artes, Exposición retrospectiva de obras de pintura, de escultura y artes suntuarias, 1867, nos. 2139–44.

Art Institute of Chicago, A Century of Progress, 1933, no. 178 (ill.).

Art Institute of Chicago, A Century of Progress, 1934, no. 78.

Art Institute of Chicago, Masterpiece of the Month, July 1939 (no cat.).

The Art Institute of Chicago, New Light on Old Masters: Research on Northern European and Spanish Paintings before 1600 in the Art Institute, 26 June—14 September 2008, no cat.

Publication History

José Puiggarí, Estudios de indumentaria española concreta y comparada, Barcelona, 1890, p. 380.

S[alvador] Sanpere y Miquel, Los cuatrocentistas catalanes: Historia de la pintura en Cataluña en el siglo XV, Barcelona, 1906, vol. 1, pp. 193–94 (ill.), vol. 2, pp. 275–82.

É[mile] Bertaux, “Les Primitifs espagnols,” La Revue de l’art ancien et moderne 22 (1907), pp. 258–61, fig. 5; 23 (1908), pp. 341–46.

Émile Bertaux, “La Peinture et la sculpture espagnoles au XIVe et au XVe siècle jusqu’au temps des rois catholiques,” in Histoire de l’art, ed. André Michel, vol. 3, pt. 2, Paris, 1908, pp. 772–75, fig. 453.

C. de Mandach, “Un Atelier provençal du XVe siècle,” Fondation Eugène Piot, L’Académie des inscriptions et belles lettres, Monuments et mémoires 16 (1909), pp. 151–52, fig. 2.

Leandro Ozzola, “Il Trionfo della Morte nel Palazzo Sclafani di Palermo,”
Monatshefte fu_r Kunstwissenschaft 2 (1909), pp. 198–205.

Marcel Dieulafoy, Art in Spain and Portugal, London, 1913, p. 175, fig. 347.

Seymour de Ricci, Description raisonnée des peintures du Louvre: Écoles étrangères; Italie et Espagne, Paris, 1913, p. 212.

“El retaule de Sant Jordi atribuit a en Benet Martorell,” Vell i nou 3 (1917), pp. 495–96 (ill.).

“Altra vegada el retaule de Sant Jordi abribuit a en Benet Martorell,” Vell i nou 3 (1917), p. 583.

“An Altar Panel by Benito Martorell,” International Studio 76, 305 (1922), p. 59.

R[obert] B. H[arshe], “Saint George Combating the Dragon,” Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago 16 (1922), pp. 18–21 (cover ill.).

Georgiana Goddard King, “The Rider on the White Horse,” Art Bulletin 5 (1922), p. 6, fig. 10.

Valerian von Loga, Die Malerei in Spanien vom XIV. bis XVIII. Jahrhundert, Berlin, 1923, p. 36.

Johnny Roosval, Nya Sankt Görans Studier, Stockholm, 1924, p. 178, pl. 2:2.

The Art Institute of Chicago, A Guide to the Paintings in the Permanent Collection, 1925, p. 169, no. 2289.

Gertrud Richert, Mittelalterliche Malerei in Spanien: Katalanische Wand- und Tafelmalereien, Berlin, 1925, pp. 59–60.

Bernhard Berenson, intro. to Speculum humanae Salvationis, ed. M. R. James, Oxford, 1926, p. 54.

Louis Hautecoeur, Musée National du Louvre: Catalogue des peintures exposées dans les galeries, vol. 2, Paris, 1926, p. 169.

Paula Pope Miller, review of Roosval, Nya Sankt Gorans Studier, in Art Bulletin 9 (1926–27), pp. 163–64, figs. 1, 3, 4.

August L. Mayer, Historia de la pintura española, Madrid, 1928, p. 47; 2nd ed., 1942, p. 98.

Pierre Paris, La Peinture espagnole depuis les origines jusqu’au début du XIXe siècle, Paris, 1928, p. 14, pl. 11.

Gabriel Rouchès, La Peinture espagnole: Le Moyen Âge, Paris, 1929, pp. 65, 138–40.

Walter Dill Scott and Robert B. Harshe, Charles Deering, 1852–1927: An Appreciation, Boston, 1929, p. 51 (ill. opp. p. 50).

Chandler Rathfon Post, A History of Spanish Painting, vol. 2, Cambridge, Mass., 1930, pp. 393–98, 414–15, 424, 442, fig. 223.

Elizabeth du Gué Trapier, Catalogue of Paintings (14th and 15th Centuries) in the Collection of the Hispanic Society of America, New York, 1930, pp. xxxiv–xxxv.

F[ilippo] Meli, Problemi di pittura siciliana nel quattrocento, Palermo, 1931, p. 43. AIC 1932, p. 189.

George Harold Edgell, A History of Sienese Painting, New York, 1932, pp. 107–8, fig. 115.

B[enjamin] Rowland, Jaume Huguet, Cambridge, Mass., 1932, p. 23.

Art Institute of Chicago, Annual Report, 1933, p. 34.

Jane M. Wilson, “Once in a Lifetime: The Art of Five Centuries and a Dozen Schools under One Roof,” Delphian Quarterly 16 (1933), pp. 3–4.

Juan de Contreras, Marqués de Lozoya, Historia del arte hispánico, vol. 2,
Barcelona, 1934, p. 325.

The Art Institute of Chicago, A Brief Illustrated Guide to the Collections, 1935, p. 24 (ill.).

W. R. Valentiner, “Le Maître du Triomphe de la Mort à Palerme,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 6th ser., 18 (1937), pp. 27–29, fig. 13.

Christian Zervos, ed., L’Art de la Catalogne de la seconde moitié du neuvième siècle à la fin du quinzième siècle, Paris, 1937, pl. 190, figs. 285–86.

A[gustí] Duran i Sanpere, “El mestre del retaule de Sant Jordi,” Catalunya: Revista d’informació i expansió catalana 9 (1938) pp. 16–19.

Chandler Rathfon Post, A History of Spanish Painting, vol. 7, Cambridge, Mass., 1938, pp. 60, 120, 204–05, 669.

F[rank] J[ewett] Mather, Western European Painting of the Renaissance, New York, 1939, p. 222, fig. 128.

Hans Tietze, Meisterwerke europäische Malerei in Amerika, Vienna, 1935, p. 307, pl. 9 (Eng. ed., Masterpieces of European Painting in America, New York, 1939).

The Art Institute of Chicago, A Brief Illustrated Guide to the Collections, 1941, p. 30.

José Gudiol, ed., Spanish Painting, exh. cat., Toledo Museum of Art, 1941, p. 24,
fig. 16.

Chandler Rathfon Post, A History of Spanish Painting, vol. 8, Cambridge, Mass., 1941, pp. 618, 622, 624, 628.

Regina Shoolman and Charles E. Slatkin, !e Enjoyment of Art in America, Philadelphia and New York, 1942, p. 463, pl. 404.

Oskar Hagen, Patterns and Principles of Spanish Art, rev. ed., Madison, Wis., 1943, pp. 113–15, fig. 39.

The Art Institute of Chicago, An Illustrated Guide to the Collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, 1945, p. 32 (ill.).

The Art Institute of Chicago, A Picture Book: Masterpieces of Painting, XV and XVI Centuries in the Collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, 1946, pp. 2–5.

Enrique Lafuente Ferrari, Breve historia de la pintura española, Madrid,
1946, p. 50; rev. ed., 1953, p. 85.

The Art Institute of Chicago, An Illustrated Guide to the Collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, 1948, p. 28 (ill.).

Everard M. Upjohn, Paul S. Wingert, and Jane Gaston Mahler, History of
World Art, New York, 1949, pp. 166–67, fig. 172.

Stephen V. Grancsay, “The Interrelationships of Costume and Armor,” Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 8 (1950), p. 181 (ill.).

Paul Guinard and Jeannine Baticle, Histoire de la peinture espagnole du
XIIe au XIXe siècle, Paris, 1950, p. 161.

Jacques Lassaigne, Spanish Painting from the Catalan Frescos to El Greco, trans. Stuart Gilbert, Geneva, 1952, p. 129.

J. F. Ráfols, Diccionario biográfico de artistas de Cataluña, vol. 2, Barcelona, 1953, pp. 125–26.

José Guidol Ricart, Pintura gótica, Ars hispaniae 9, Madrid, 1955, p. 106, fig. 77.

José Gudiol Ricart et al., Cataluña, Barcelona, 1955, p. 59.

Fernando Jiménez-Placer y Suárez de Lezo, Historia del arte español, vol. 1, Barcelona, 1955, pp. 431–33, 449, fig. 819.

Frederic-Pau Verrié, L’art català, vol. 1, ed. Joaquim Folch i Torres, Barcelona,
1955, pp. 401–02.

José Gudiol Ricart, Santiago Alcolea Gil, and Juan-Eduardo E. Cirlot, Historia de la pintura en Cataluña, Madrid, 1956, p. 114, fig. 62.

The Art Institute of Chicago, An Illustrated Guide to the Collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, 1956, pp. 28–29 (ill.).

Juan Antonio Gaya Nuño, La pintura española fuera de España, Madrid, 1958, pp. 41, 231, no. 1734, pl. 19.

José Gudiol Ricart, Jaume Huguet, Madrid, 1958, p. 69.

Chandler Rathfon Post, A History of Spanish Painting, vol. 12, Cambridge, Mass., 1958, p. 249.

Louis Réau, Iconographie de l’art chrétien, vol. 3, Paris, 1958, p. 575.

Gabriel Rouchès, La Peinture espagnole, des origins au XXe siècle, Paris, 1958, pp. 44–45.

José Gudiol Ricart, Bernardo Martorell, Madrid, 1959, pp. 16–17, 37 n. 4, pls. 4–5.

Stora Spanska Mästare, exh. cat., Stockholm, Nationalmuseum, 1959, p. 41.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings in The Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Picture Collection, 1961, pp. 95 (ill.), 296.

Renzo Chiarelli, Margherita Lenzini Moriondo, and Franco Mazzini, European Painting in the 15th Century, New York, 1961, pp. 19, 222.

Jacqueline Marette, La Connaissance des primitives par l’étude du bois, du XIIe au XVIe siècle, Paris, 1961, p. 174.

A. Deulofeu, Catalunya: Origen de la pintura medieval, Barcelona, 1963,
p. 77.

Trésors de la peinture espagnole: Églises et musées de France, exh. cat., Paris, Palais du Louvre and Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 1963, pp. 93–99.

José Gudiol, The Arts of Spain, Garden City, N.Y., 1964, p. 153.

Eric Young, “Medieval Painting in Spain: Progress and Problems,” Apollo 79 (1964), p. 12, fig. 2.

Santiago Alcolea, “Il gotico internazionale in Spagna,” I maestri del colore 226 (1966), pls. 6–7.

José Camón Aznar, Pintura medieval española, Summa artis 22, Madrid, 1966, pp. 245–47.

Frederick A. Sweet, “Great Chicago Collectors,” Apollo 84 (1966), p. 204, 207, fig. 41.

Marcel Durliat, El arte catalán, Barcelona, 1967, p. 269.

J[osé] M[anuel] Pita Andrade, Treasures of Spain, trans. Isabel Quigly, vol. 1, Geneva, 1967, p. 193.

Martí de Riquer, L’arnès del cavaller: Armes i armadures catalanes medievals, Barcelona, 1968, p. 104, fig. 150.

John Maxon, The Art Institute of Chicago, London, 1970, pp. 27–28.

Marian Burleigh, “The ‘Triumph of Death’ in Palermo,” Marsyas: Studies in the History of Art 15 (1970–71), pp. 54–55, pl. 22, fig. 15.

José Gudiol Ricart, Cataluña, vol. 1, Madrid, 1974, pp. 284–85 (ill.).

Agustí Duran i Sanpere, Barcelona i la seva història, vol. 3, Barcelona, 1975, pp. 79–80.

Ferdinando Bologna, Napoli e le rotte mediterranee della pittura, Naples, 1977, pp. 21–23.

Art Institute of Chicago, 100 Masterpieces, 1978, p. 40, no. 3 (ill.).

Mary Faith Mitchell Grizzard, “Bernardo Martorell: Fifteenth-Century Catalan
Artist,” Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 1978 (New York and London, 1985), pp. 185–201, 445–46, figs. 11, 19.

Albert Châtelet, Les Primitifs septentrionaux: La Peinture dans l’Europe septentrionale et la péninsule Ibérique au XVe siècle, Geneva, 1979, p. 278, no. 56.

La pintura gótica en la Corona de Aragón, exh. cat., Saragossa, Museo e Instituto de Humanidades “Camón Aznar,” 1980, pp. 35, 108.

Joaquín Yarza, Historia del arte hispánico, vol. 2, Madrid, 1980, p. 381.

Arnauld Brejon de Lavergnée and Dominique Thiébaut, eds., Catalogue sommaire illustré des peintures du musée du Louvre, vol. 2, Paris, 1981, p. 119.

Mary Grizzard, “An Identification of Martorell’s Commission for the Aragonese
Corts,” Art Bulletin 64 (1982), pp. 312–13, fig. 3.

Mary Grizzard, “La Provenance du retable de Saint Georges par Bernardo Martorell: Nouvelle Hypothèse,” Revue du Louvre 33 (1983), pp. 89–96, fig. 1.

Josep Gudiol and Santiago Alcolea i Blanch, Pintura gótica catalana, Barcelona, 1986, p. 126, cat. 380, fig. 650.

Mathieu Hériard Dubreuil, Valencia y el Gótico Internacional, vol. 1, trans. Angela-Petra Salas Martinelli, Valencia, 1987, p. 137.

Art Institute of Chicago, Master Paintings in The Art Institute of Chicago, 1988 , p. 13 (ill.).

Albert Châtelet and Roland Recht, Automne et renouveau, 1380– 1500, Le Monde gothique 35, Paris, 1988, pp. 230–31.

Judith Berg Sobré, Behind the Altar Table: The Development of the Painted Retable in Spain, 1350–1500, Columbia, Mo., 1989, p. 91, fig. 48.

Joan Ainaud de Lasarte, Catalan Painting, vol. 2, New York, 1990, pp. 78–80.

Claudie Ressort, La Peinture espagnole, Louvre, Paris, 1991, p. 5.

Jacques Gagliardi, La Conquête de la peinture: L’Europe des ateliers du XIIIème au XVème siècle, Paris, 1993, p. 209, no. 250 (ill.).

Georges Didi-Huberman, Riccardo Garbetta, and Manuela Morgaine, Saint Georges et le dragon: Versions d’une légende, Paris, 1994, pp. 85 (ill.), 96.

Joaquín Yarza Luaces, in La pintura española, ed. Alfonso Pérez Sánchez and Juan Manuel Bonet, vol. 1, Milan, 1995, p. 121.

Santiago Alcolea Blanch, “Martorell, Bernat,” in Dictionary of Art, vol. 20, 1996, p. 514, fig. 1.

Annick Lautraite and Claudie Ressort, Le Tableau du mois, no. 41: Les Quatre Scènes de la légende de saint Georges par Bernardo Martorell, Paris, Musée du Louvre, 1997.

Francesc Ruíz i Quesada, “Una reflexió a l’entorn del taller de Bernat Martorell a partir de l’observació de certes dissemblances presents en la seva obra,” Miscel.lània en homenatge a Joan Ainaud de Lasarte, vol. 1, Barcelona, 1998, p. 432.

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Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife, New York, 2003, pp. 48–49.

Joan Molina Figueras, Bernat Martorell i la tardor del gòtic català, Girona, 2003, p. 9.

M[artha] W[olff], in Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 30, 2 (2004), pp. 79–80, no. 54 (cover ill.).

Larry J. Feinberg, “A Brief History of the Old Masters in the Art Institute of
Chicago,” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 32, 2 (2006), p. 12, fig. 6.

Judith Berg Sobré in Martha Wolff et al., Northern European and Spanish Paintings before 1600 in the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 2008, pp. 78-86, ill.

Ownership History

Probably commissioned for the chapel of Saint George, Palau de la Generalitat, Barcelona [Sobré in Wolff 2008]; Don Francesco de Rocabruna, Baron of Albi, by 1867 [lent by him to Barcelona 1867, along with the four lateral panels now in the Louvre, Paris, and a painting of the Virgin, now untraced]; Doña Josefa de Rocabruna (d. 1872), Barcelona [Sanpere y Miquel 1906, vol. 1, p. 195, vol. 2, p. 275, who cited Puiggarí 1890]; her estate, administered by the rector of the Escuelas Pías of Barcelona, following an 1872 arbitral judgment; sold by him on behalf of Doña Josefa’s nephew Francesc Rocabruna to Don
José Ferrer-Vidal i Soler, Barcelona, by 1906, and in this collection until at least 1913 [according to Sanpere y Miquel 1906, vol. 1, p. 194; for Ferrer-Vidal I Soler, see Dieulafoy 1913 and Ricci 1913]. Charles Deering, Marycel, Sitges, near Barcelona, and Chicago, by 1919 [Berenson 1926 reports seeing it at Sitges; the painting was placed on loan at the Art Institute in 1921; loan agreement, Nov. 18, 1921, Art Institute Archives]; given to his daughters Mrs. Chauncey McCormick and Mrs. Richard E. Danielson, 1924 [Art Institute Archives]; given to the Art Institute, 1933.