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Collection of the Guild of St George, Museums Sheffield
'St Tryphonius taming the Basilisk', after Carpaccio
Date Made/Found: 1877
Artist: Charles Fairfax Murray , British, 1849 - 1919
Artist: after Vittore Carpaccio , Venetian, 1460 - 1526
Material and Medium: watercolour on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 420 x 297mm Sight size: 170 x 180mm
Department: Ruskin
Accession Number: CGSG00771
Murray's watercolour is a small detail froma large-scale painting which shows St Tryphon exorcising a demon from the daughter of the Roman Emperor Gordianus. The original work is part of a cycle of paintings in the Scuola of San Giorgio degli Schiavoni in Venice, which Carpaccio painted between 1502 and 1507. Ruskin commissioned this work from Murray, along with others from the cycle to assist him with his book, 'St Mark's Rest'. In general, Ruskin admired the work of Carpaccio, finding great truthfulness and expressiveness in it. Ruskin found this scene rather strange however, and wrote: 'was ever [depicted] so simple a saint, ever so absurd a beast? as if the absurdity of all heraldic beasts that ever were, had been hatched into one perfect absurdity - prancing there on the steps of the throne, self-satisfied; -this the beast whose glance is mortal! And little St Tryphonius, with nothing remarkable about him more than is in every good little boy’.
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