Saint George and the Dragon, c. 1700
Master of the Bull Hunt, Attributed to (after Lorenzo Vaccaro)
silver and gilded bronze
58.5 x 63 x 47.5 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 28970)
The complex, interlocking relationship of the figures is characteristic of the period, and paralleled in contemporary painting. Small-scale sculpture in precious metals is typical of Naples; this is a rare surviving secular example. The anonymous artist was a metal founder, a specialized and demanding craft. His own talents as an inventor were limited, and like many founders he was largely dependent upon models provided by professional sculptors - in this case, the leading sculptor in Naples. As appropriate for a luxury work intended for close observation, the bronze is finished carefully to create subtle effects of texture. The elaborate base is original.