Though SS. George and Florian originated from different lands, they are thought to have been martyred only a few years apart and were subsequently united within the cult of warrior saints.
St George is said to have been born in Cappadocia in the third century. He was venerated in the Christian world for his symbolic slaying of a dragon, which was a metaphor for the victory of Christianity over paganism. Here he is seen in full armour not only trampling the dragon with his feet, but also in the act of spearing the servile creature. St. Florian, a Roman soldier from Ems, Upper Austria, is himself a metaphor for the triumph of Christianity as a convert from paganism before his martyrdom in AD 304. Here is depicted extinguishing the flames of a burning city with a single pale of water.
Their pairing has long been recognised in the arts of central and eastern Europe, seen, for example, in the 15th century panel paintings by The Master of the Life of Mary in the church of St. Ursula, Cologne. They are also seen in the painted decoration of churches as far north as Lithuania, and in East Bohemia in the North altar of the Benedictine abbey in Rohr flanking SS. Peter and Paul.
The present pair of figures suggests the triumph of the Christian faith. In the context of a church flanking an altarpiece or a group of saints, they are not only the protectors of the individual piece, but also the symbolic protectors of the faith. Furthermore, their existence in early 16th century reformation Germany, would have had particular significance in the struggle of Catholic 'idol-worshippers' against the Protestant iconoclasts.
For further details on the provenance of these figures please refer to the note of the previous lot.