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Huntington buys 16th century 'St. George and the Dragon' statue

Huntington buys 16th century 'St. George and the Dragon' statue
"St. George and the Dragon," a 16th century sculpture attributed to Giovan Angelo del Maino. (Huntington Library)

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Garden in San Marino announced Tuesday that it has acquired a 16th century sculpture titled "St. Georgeand the Dragon" that it is attributing to the Renaissance artist Giovan Angelo del Maino.

The sculpture was acquired earlier this month from a dealer in Paris, according to Catherine Hess, the Huntington's chief curator of European art. The Huntington declined to say how much it paid for the work. Hess said that the piece was once part of the collection of American financier J.P. Morgan.

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"St. George" depicts the armored Christian hero riding horseback as he attempts to slay a dragon. The painted wood sculpture stands a little more than 2 feet tall. It is believed to have been created between 1522­–27 by Del Maino, who was an artist living in what is now the Milan area of Italy. 

The piece had an unknown artistic provenance for many years. Hess said that the Huntington is being cautious in attributing the sculpture to Del Maino, but said she feels confident of the piece's authorship. The attribution was made by Hess and Giancarlo Gentilini, a scholar of early Italian sculpture at Italy's Perugia University.

Pieces by Del Maino are a rarity in U.S. museums. The Huntington said the only other work by the Renaissance artist known to be in the U.S. is a panel depicting the Massacre of the Innocents in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

"St. George and the Dragon" is expected to be available for public viewing at the Huntington by the end of June and will be displayed in a reinstalled gallery devoted to Renaissance art.

The Huntington said it also recently acquired a 19th century French painting titled "Sunshine and Shadow" by artist Constant Troyon.

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