Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 23 April 2012

St George and the Dragon

When thinking which image to post to mark St George' day, and to celebrate the idea of the Christian so conformed to Christ that he Christian so conformed to Christ that he beats down evil in the flesh, it occurred to me to use the spectacular statue of St George and the Dragon in the Storkyran in Stockholm, which is usually attributed to Bernt Notke, and dated to 1489.

File:Stockholm-Storkyrkan (St.Georg).jpg

 Image: Wikipedia

Sankt Nikolai kyrka (Church of St. Nicholas), most commonly known as The Storkyrkan (The Great Church), has been since 1942 the cathedral of the new diocese of Stockholm and is the oldest church in the old town of central Stockholm.

First recorded in 1279 it was for nearly four hundred years the only parish church in the city. Because of its convenient size and its proximity to the royal residence it has frequently been the site of major events in Swedish history, such as coronations, royal weddings and royal funerals.

The most famous of its treasures is the dramatic wooden statue of St George and the Dragon attributed to Notke. It is said to have been commissioned to commemorate the Battle of Brunkeberg (1471), and also serves as a reliquary containing relics supposedly of  St George and two other saints.

There is more about the history of the statue, including alternative ideas as to its inspiration and creation in a series of linked pages which can be viewed from here and questions many modern explanations of the statue

The statue which survived due to the more tolerant attitude of the Swedish reformers towards images and perhaps also because of its patriotic associations with the battle of 1471 is an indication of what may once have decorated other churches across Europe in the later medieval period





Image:arthistory390 on Flickr

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