- Antonio Badile
- Saint George and the dragon
- signed and inscribed on the reverse of the original canvas: OPUS HOC ANTONIO BAYLUS / PINXIT ET IN LUCEN DEDIT DIE / ULTIMA MARTII.M.D.XL.VIII (see fig. 1)
- oil on canvas
- 104 1/8 by 59 in.; 264.3 by 149.7 cm.
His sale, Milan, Sambon, 30 November 1885, lot 166 (as Alessandro Bonvicino, called Moretto).
Badile came from a family of Veronese painters and engravers, spanning back generations to his great-grandfather, the painter Giovanni Badile (1379-before 1451). The artist is perhaps best known, however, as teacher and master to the young Paolo Veronese, who began working for him in the early 1540s. According to census documents, preserved today in Verona’s Archivio di Stato, one Paulus was listed as a garzone in Badile’s household in 1541, “Paulus eius discipulus seu Garsonus 14”.1 By 1548, at the time the Saint George was painted, Veronese was still working in Verona and the possibility of his having assisted his master in this largescale commission cannot be excluded. The sky in the distance at left, streaked with horizontal cloud forms, is certainly reminiscent of Veronese’s early works, such as his Raising of Jarus’ Daughter of 1546 in the Louvre, Paris and his Punishment of the Eunuchs in the Museo del Castelvecchio, Verona.2
Echoes of Badile’s Saint George and the Dragon can be found in Veronese’s study of the same subject, acquired by Count Brühl in 1769 and now in the State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg (inv. no. 7741; fig. 2).3 The facial features and curling hair of the figure, his contrapposto pose leaning to the left, the broken lance and the position of the dragon with its “s” form tail at right, all recall the present composition. Similarly, Veronese’s Study of a Suit of Armor in the Staatliche Museen, Berlin (inv. no. 5120; fig. 3) bears a striking resemblance to that depicted by Badile, though the pauldrons at the shoulder have a more exaggerated and fanciful winged form in the painted version. The sketches are thought to date to later than Badile’s Saint George, to the late 1550s or early 1560s.4
1. J. Turner (ed.), “Veronese, Paolo,” in The Dictionary of Art, London and New York 1996, vol. 32, p. 347.
2. T. Pignatti and F. Pedrocco, Veronese, Catalogo Completo, Florence 1991, p. 22, cat. no. 1 and p. 24, cat. no. 3, reproduced.
3. R. Cocke, Veronese’s Drawings, A Catalogue Raisonné, London 1984, p. 123, cat. no. 49, reproduced p. 127, fig. 49
4. Ibid., p. 131, cat. no. 51, reproduced p. 130, fig. 51.