Saint Sylvester 31 December 2016

Saint Sylvester and the Dragon

Posted by Laura Gibbs • Jan 1st, 2009

The legendary lives of the saints were, once upon a time, as famous as stories from the Bible itself. Throughout the Middle Ages, the lives of the saints were well known all over Europe and those stories were told and retold in all manner of religious art, from the tiny miniature illustrations in medieval manuscripts to the grand frescoes and monumental sculptures decorating the churches of Europe. While the cult of the saints is still of tremendous importance in the Catholic church, the Protestant churches have downplayed the lives of the saints. As a result, many people today may be baffled by the unfamiliar stories they see depicted prominently in Europe’s churches and museums.

Let’s take, for example, this fresco by Maso di Banco (d. 1348), an  Italian painter of the early Renaissance who worked in Florence, Italy. His most important surviving frescoes are in the beautiful Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence. Those of you who are admirers of Italian painting might notice similarities in style here to the work of Giotto di Bondone (d. 1337), who was a great influence on Maso:

Miracle of the Dragon, Life of Saint Sylvester Artist: Maso di Banco Location: Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence Date: circa 1340 Larger view here

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Source: Saint Sylvester and the Dragon | Journey to the Sea


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