OK, I admit it, I messed up my saints. As a girl Jewish through ancient rules, from a mixed family, who grew up in a godless state (unless you count the communistic manifest as a kind of bible and communism a religion – what would make it opium for the masses according to Marx) I’m not suppose to know saints. But given the possibility that I knew them – purely hypothetical – I would always prefer an archangel over a martyr. It’s pragmatism. I rather do something than be dead for it.
Anyway, had I watched White Collar’s Forging Bonds before drawing, I had realized in time that what I prefer is not what is used. The Raphael in question is St. George and the Dragon. It’s a bit disappointing as it is by far not as interesting in its back-story as St. Michael, but much easier accessible for Neal.
St.George is a military saint. He was a high ranking Roman soldier, who was executed for staying steadfast to his Christian believes when the emperor of this time issued an edict that every Christian soldier in his army should be arrested. He became known as one of the fourteen Holy Helpers. Many legends surround his name; one of them is the tale of his struggle with a dragon, which represents Satan, theRoman Empireand/or the evil in all of us. The story is a version of the Perseus and Andromeda myth and parallels can be drawn to many other myths of older deities in the Indo-European culture.
The dragon tale became a very popular motive. Raphael drew it twice. Once version is the twin to the St. Michael painting and is housed as well in the Louvre inParis. This version of St. George and the Dragon, dating also to the beginnings of Raphael’s career in ca. 1505 has been for a long time one of the favorite pieces in the collection of the Hermitage inSt. Petersburg. It was just like theAmberRoomonce in possession of Catherine the Great. But the Bolsheviks sold it in 1931 and it ended up in the Washington Gallery.