Saint George at The Gaudí Exhibition Center.

Dragons, Knights, roses, books… If we relate these words, everyone knows that we mean in Saint George. Well, everyone at least in Catalonia but this mythical hero of Christian iconography is not only well known in this land, but he is also revered as a Saint Patron in England, Portugal, Georgia, Ethiopia, Ukraine or Bulgaria. Within the Spanish territory is also known thus Aragon and many towns throughout the State.

Detail Keystone Saint George at Gaudí Exhibition Center

 

But how is it that this character is so important in Christian worship? What of truth and myth in his legend? How is this hero usually represents?, and above all what has to do with Antonio Gaudí and our display?

 

We start at the beginning; According to the majority of the researchers, the historical origin of Sant Jordi comes from that Roman soldier of Cappadocia (the current Turkey region) that in the year 303, seeing “Great Persecution” which the Emperor Dioclecian exerted against the Christians, he renounced his status as soldier to dedicate himself to preaching of the Christian faith. This earned him to be pursued by the Governor Dacian, which demanded that he renounce his faith. George, refusing, was captured and subjected to all kinds of torture, none of them worked until he was beheaded at the end.

 

It seems to be, that after his death, worship his figure spread very quickly by both the East and West because of the iconographic force had the Knights since ancient times, where the Warriors symbolized the fight against evil. Even so, it was from the Crusades when his cult spread widely by the entire West, to be named patron saint of the Knights and soldiers.

 

Sculpture bronze. Emili Colom (1950-60). Gaudí Exhibition Center

In the territories of the Crown of Aragon, his patronage took root from the reign of James the I “the Conqueror”. It is narrated taht in the capture of Valencia by part monarch, a Knight on white horse helped the troops of James I at the most difficult time. Once achieved victory it disappeared. All related the divine intervention of Sanit George in favor of James.

 

We’ve already seen what were the beginnings that this Christian soldier made an important symbol for Christianity and for people in Catalonia. But with the length of time the myth was evolving and taking a new symbolism. In the 19th century, with the Renaixença, begins a period of resurgence of national symbols and traditions. As an example in Catalonia we can look at this excerpt from the poem the emigrant, Jacint Verdaguer;

 

Sweet Catalonia

homeland of my heart

when it moves

hope dies

 

One of the main objectives of this stage, was it recover all those characteristic of the Catalan identity symbols as folklore, literature, poetry and, above all, the language. In terms of style, next to the European romanticism, stands out by a predominance of the feelings, the patriotic exaltation and historical themes. Within this movement, the emergence of a new style, Art Nouveau, we find in architecture where Antoni Gaudí looks like the highest representative of this style in the Catalan side. He enjoyed always shared this feeling of national recovery and that’s that it related to the protagonists of the time mostly with Jacint Verdaguer. In fact, the architect was inspired by the work of Atlantis,  wroten by the poet, and represented the garden of the Hesperides at the door of the Güell’s pavilions.

 

In addition, Gaudi, in the same way as his fellow Renaissance, always showed a great interest in medieval legend and, above all, by a character in particular: Sant Jordi (Saint George). The pattern of Catalonia forms part of the Catalan roots and Gaudí will represent him in some of his works. If we look at the façade of Casa Batlló, for example, where we can see the legend that is represented in a more visual manner: the four-armed cross, would symbolize the spear, The balconies, the remains of the dragon and the roof of ceramic the back of the monster. You just need to let our imagination to revive this important story, every 23 April, reminds us of our roots.

Detail replica of Park Güell’s fountain

We invite you, therefore this Sant Jordi (St. George), in the Gaudi Exhibition Center, where of course, all the Jordis, Jorge, Georginas, Georges… Enter for free!

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