Statue of St George by Donatello

Donatello was commissioned to create a statue of St. George around 1413 for the guild of Florentine armorers and sword-makers. It was carved from marble and placed near his statue of St. Mark on a niche of the church in Orsanmichele.

The saint's lore was well-known. St. George was a military hero who had fought to defend the Holy Land. Tales dating back to the Crusades, including those illustrating his defeat of a dragon, were collected in the "Legenda Aurea" in the thirteenth century. Donatello took these tales into account and created a likeness of St. George that personified him as confident and capable.

St. George stands brandishing a mighty shield and is seemingly aware of danger coming from every direction. Donatello placed the weight of the statue evenly upon both legs but left the front of the figure's left foot hovering slightly above the base of the statue. It can be interpreted as a defensive posture and one that suggests St. George was strong and steadfast even in the face of danger.

St. George was celebrated on various days throughout the year with feasts and celebrations and was known as a patron saint of the armory. The guild placed intricate metal adornments including a sword, helmet, and belt upon the statue creating a spectacular contrast of metal against marble.