Lot 33
  • 33

Antonio Badile

400,000 - 600,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • 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.


François Molinari, Cremona and Milan;
His sale, Milan, Sambon, 30 November 1885, lot 166 (as Alessandro Bonvicino, called Moretto).

Catalogue Note

Antonio Badile’s stirring image of Saint George and the Dragon was almost certainly intended for public display and may have served as one half of a pair of organ shutters.  The composition has a distinct bias to the left-hand side, in the position of the putti and the direction of the saint’s gaze and gesture, lending itself well to accompaniment by a second painting in the opposite bearing. Until a relining during conservation in 2004, Badile’s signature and date remained visible on the reverse of the canvas (fig. 1). Written in Latin, the inscription translates as “This work Antonio Baylus painted and brought to the light on the last day of March 1548.”

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.