The fight: St George kills the dragon VI

Edward Burne-Jones1866

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Sydney, Australia

More commonly an excuse for high drama and dynamic design, the legend of St George inspired in Edward Burne-Jones a typically lyrical response. This image presents the viewer with something akin to a dream. The knight is hardy enough, dispatching his beastly (but undernourished) enemy with assurance; yet this St George is a creature of the mind. The blurry 'sfumato' of the forms - Burne-Jones had yet to perfect his brittle manner - and the elegance of the poses encourage reverie, not alarm. Burne-Jones was the least ideological of the Pre-Raphaelites, yet the most enduring, always keeping faith with a moonlit world of bloodless damsels and epicene saints. Henry James called the Burne-Jones type 'pale, sickly and wan'. No progressive, the English artist loathed the impressionists, preferring their symbolist contemporaries, whom he admired and greatly influenced.

AGNSW Handbook, 1999.

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  • Title: The fight: St George kills the dragon VI
  • Creator: Sir Edward Burne-Jones
  • Date Created: 1866
  • Physical Dimensions: 105.4 x 130.8 cm stretcher; 166.0 x 175.6 x 19.0 cm frame
  • Provenance: Myles Birket Foster, 1864-1894, Surrey/England, Series commissioned in 1864 for the dining-room of Foster's house at 'The Hill' at Witley, Surrey. Series sold at Birket Foster's sale 1894 for 2,100 gns. C. Sidney Goldmann, 1898, England, In the collection of C. Sidney Goldmann by 1898, with some others of the series. Christie's London, 26 Apr 1902, London/England, Purchased by Agnew's for Sir Ernest Moon Sir Ernest Moon, 26 Apr 1902-1930, Oxfordshire/England, Braziers park, Ipsden, Oxfordshire Arthur Moon, KC, 1930-1950, England, Gift of Arthur Moon 1950
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Gift of Arthur Moon KC in memory of his mother, Emma, born in Sydney in 1860, the daughter of John de Villers Lamb 1950
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Signature & Date: Signed and dated l.l., black oil "EB-J / 1864".
  • Object Other Titles: The fight: St George killing the dragon VI
  • Artist Country: England