Maes Godfried 17th Century Flemish Baroque Saint George Martyrdom
A stunning 17th Century Baroque Martyrdom of St George by the Flemish Godfried Maes or Godefroy Maes, the Southern Netherlandish painter, Antwerp 1649 – 1700, a large vertically set oil on canvas religious art painting depicting the martyrdom of saint George the great, a preliminary oil on canvas painting in preparation for his larger, monumental oil on canvas altarpiece realized in 1681, now exhibited at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp.
Against the backdrop of monumental architecture evoked by a tympanum, a dome on the right and an imposing twisted column with base on the left, in the center we find St. George being asked to renounce the Christian faith, threatened with beheading by a soldier armed with a sword on his right. The central Saint George figure is incorporated in a group composition full of movement. In front of him a boy with thurible. Soldiers and various figures, including a mother with child are watching the scene. The virtue of Charity is depicted as a mother, a young woman breastfeeding.
Just below we find the painter signature G. MAES.
Diocletian emperor holding the fasces, Rome’s power symbol, can be seen in the background on the left side.
St. George points with the forefinger of his right hand to the upper part of the painting in the center of which triumphs the presence of the Faith in a bank of clouds accompanied by Sts Peter, Paul and a multitude of angels with laurel palms, sign of victory. Faith cardinal virtue is portrayed as an helmeted woman wearing a soft drapery white robe with ample drapery, triumphantly raising the source and summit of church life.
This preliminary painting, is much more crowded with characters, has a richer composition than the altarpiece, the final artwork dated 1681 that you can see in Antwerp Royal Museum of Fine Arts.
In good condition, this antique Flemish religious art painting comes from a private collection of Milan, the canvas has been lined, restored and moved to a new wooden sketcher about twenty years ago. Has been cleaned and has minor painting retouches, in overall good condition, consistent with Baroque age. Set within a 1700 wooden and plaster frame with golden painting finish.
Height: 168 (162) cm
Width: 100 (94) cm
Depth: 5 cm
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