Born just outside Philadelphia, where he later claimed he received his first artistic training from North American Indians, he studied art in Italy and settled in London. He eventually became president of the Royal Academy and the favorite painter of King George III. In this small canvas from the 1780s, West heightens the drama of the scene through the theatrical sky, frenetic actions of the main figures, and the compositional strategy of strong diagonal lines, reinforced through the saint’s raised spear. As the patron saint of England and the namesake of the King, the subject of St. George was encoded with deep allegorical significance.


  • Title: St. George and the Dragon
  • Creator: Benjamin West
  • Date Created: 1786
  • Physical Dimensions: 15.125"h x 11.125 "w
  • Type: painting
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Culture: American
  • Credit Line: Museum Purchase
  • Creator Death Date: 1820
  • Creator Birth Date: 1738

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