St. George slaying the dragon, in bronze, now in the National Gallery, Prague, and formerly in a courtyard of the Hradschin, cast by Martin and Georg of Kolozsvar (Cluj-Napoca); dated 1373. The fountain spout is a later addition
1373 - 'Saint George (Sv. Jiri)' (Jiri and Martin z Kluze), copy, Prazsky hrad, Praha, Czech Republic
Cluj-Napoca (Romanian pronunciation: [?klu? na?poka] ( listen)), commonly known as Cluj, is the second most populous city in Romania, after the national capital Bucharest, and the seat of Cluj County in the northwestern part of the country. Geographically, it is roughly equidistant from Bucharest (324 kilometres (201 miles)), Budapest (351 km (218 mi)) and Belgrade (322 km (200 mi)). Located in the Some?ul Mic River valley, the city is considered the unofficial capital to the historical province of Transylvania. From 1790 to 1848 and from 1861 to 1867, it was the official capital of the Grand Principality of Transylvania
On 19 August 1316, during the rule of the new king, Charles I of Hungary, Cluj was granted the status of a city (Latin: civitas), as a reward for the Saxons' contribution to the defeat of the rebellious Transylvanian voivode, Ladislaus Kan
Reform Church - copy of statue in Prague's Hradcany Castle
The art of the Kolozsvari brothers, Marton and Gyorgy, is a unique one in Europe which makes art historians interested in events leading up to it, e.g. Italian, French and Czech art. The only work which has survived the centuries is the Statue of St. George in Prague. Other works are known only from descriptions. Statues of St. Stephen, Emeric and Ladislaus (before 1372) and the equestrian statue of St. Ladislaus (1390) stand in Nagyvбrad. It is still a question to be answered whether the statue of St. George was given to Prague as a present during the reign of Lewis the Great or later, or whether it was intended to be a statue for a fountain, for a niche or for an altar.
The Kolozsvбri brothers applied the lost wax process which had not been used since ancient days making it fairly obvious that the statue must have been created by them. The relationship of small technical details to the goldsmith's trade does not give any answer to questions on their art. The type of the figure, the horse turning away, the pedestal with floral decoration and the landscape full of animals prove inspiration by court painting. They accomplished their jobs by relying on iconographic elements and ideas of international court culture.
The image above depicts what may be the most beautiful statue made in the medieval Kingdom of Hungary. Made by the brothers Martin and Georg of Klausenburg (Kolozsvar / Cluj) in 1373, the statue is the only surviving work from the production of their bronze workshop. Their other works - bronze statues of the Hungarian kings St. Stephen, Prince St. Emeric and St. Ladislas, as well as a large equestrian statue of St. Ladislas (all of these at Varad / Oradea) all got destroyed during the Ottoman wars, after the capture of Varad in 1660. The statue of St. George has been in Prague at least since the 16th century - but it is not known when and how exactly it got there. It is regarded as the first free-standing monumental bronze equestrian statue since antiquity. Information about its makers and the date was preserved on the now-lost shield (and is known from 18th century transcriptions):
A.D. MCCCLXXIII HOC OPUS IMAGINIS S. GEORGII PER MARTINUM ET GEORGIUM DE CLUSSENBERCH CONFLATUM EST
Today, a copy of the statue is still standing in the third courtyard of Prague Castle, near the cathedral of St. Vitus. The original has been in the National Gallery in Prague since the 1960s.
A lot has been written on the statue in recent years, especially in a series of articles published in the Bohemian art history journal Umeni. See in particular the studies of Klara Benesovska and Ivo Hlobil from 2007, or the study of Erno Marosi published in the 1999 volume of the journal. The connections of the bronze statue to the art of Trecento Italy (especially the Cathedral of Orvieto), the naturalism of some of its details, the historical context of the statue as well as its connections to other works by the brothers are all topics worthy of even further investigation.