St. George and the dead soldier

Ekklesia reports that a new painting of St. George by highly regarded artist Scott Norwood Witts, which depicts the saint as a man of compassion rather than a crusader, is to be unveiled at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. George, Southwark, to mark the saint’s day next week.

The life-size but intimate portrait will be unveiled as part of the ‘St. George in Southwark’ festival (http://www.stgeorgefestival.org.uk/events/). It shows the 'dragon slayer' as a saint of peace and one who chose risky debate over violence, the artist points out.

St George and Dead Soldier was stimulated by the deployment of British forces overseas and the historical misrepresentation of St George. The patron saint of soldiers and England is shown battle weary, identifying another fatality of war - exploding the contrived mythical identity developed during The Crusades, to reveal a man in mourning. As a high ranking soldier of the Roman Empire converting to Christianity was extremely dangerous, yet his faith inspired him to put down his weapons and personally confront the Emperor Diocletian over his persecution of Christians. The lifesize, but intimate portrait shows the ’dragon slayer’ as a saint of peace and one chose debate over violence.

The painting will be displayed on the 19th and 20th April and then officially unveiled and blessed by the Dean on St George’s Day and exhibited until 3rd May.

Scott Norwood Witts has previously exhibited at the American Church in London and the Carmelite Friary in Kent. Commissions have included altarpieces at Dover Castle and the Royal Garrison Church at British Army HQ Aldershot.

See it here.

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