Presentation on theme: "Rossetti's cartoons for the stained-glass Story of St. George and the Dragon."— Presentation transcript:
Rossetti's cartoons for the stained-glass Story of St. George and the Dragon
S t. George of Cappadocia is the patron saint of England and of the Italian cities Venice and Ferrara. The medieval legend tells that the knight, who was the son of Christians, came to a city whose inhabitants were being terrorized by a dragon who demanded two children to be sent to him to be devoured every day. The children were chosen by lot, and the lot finally fell to the king’s daughter. She was rescued by St. George who slew the dragon by pinning it down with his lance and running it through with his sword.
The six designs in the series illustrating the story of St. George and the Dragon are cartoons for the stained glass panels in the Victoria and Albert Museum. These drawings were used by craftsmen to serve as a guide to assemble the pieces to form the completed stained-glass panel. Each of the cartoons is drawn with Indian ink and wash on white paper.
“How the good knight St. George of England slew the dragon and set the princess free.” St. George defends the princess, who is tied to a tree on the left. The knight kneels in struggle while decapitating the monster with his sword. C.A. Howell is the model for St. George.
“How the joyful Princess was borne home again.” The princess kneels in prayer in a covered cart; through its portals can be seen the profile of St. George mounted on his horse. A man carrying the head of the dragon is seen on the left, and behind him are crowds of people. C.A. Howell is again the model for St. George.
“How great rejoicing was made for the wedding of St. George and the Princess.” The King and Queen flank St. George and the Princess. They overlook a table on which rests the head of the dragon and the sword that slew him. The model for the Princess was probably Rossetti’s wife, Elizabeth Siddal.
Rossetti’s cartoons date from his Arthurian or medieval period, during which he illustrated scenes from medieval legends and literature. Characteristics of this period are “heraldic patters, medieval amour, and an emphasis on texture.” This style does not lend itself well to stained-glass window designs. Rossetti failed to consider the importance of clarity and simplicity of line, and the subjects are practically impossible to decipher from a distance.