The 4th century story of George and the dragon has misplaced tiny in the telling above the 1,700 many years given that the Roman soldier turned Christian martyr grew to become the historical forebear of today’s superhero.

The patron saint of England (as effectively as Georgia, Malta, Portugal and Romania), the source of the red cross on the English flag, and with standing as as the historical protector of the royal family, George ticks several religious and cultural boxes. He is venerated by churches east and west, and is a identified figure in Islam.

Now the crusader has invaded the Belgian city of Mons where a colourful exhibition known as The Guy, the Dragon and Death: The Glory of Saint George, is currently being staged as one particular of the closing events of the European Capital of Culture programme.

“Saint George emerged as a middle ages and renaissance symbol of the man who takes a personalized choice to be brave. He helps make a selection for justice in the name of the frequent very good,” exhibition curator Laurent Busine explained.

“This is not merely a religious theme. Although we see depictions of George, an ordinary guy fighting the dragon alongside depictions of Michael, a saint, fighting satan, it is a universal myth, the battle in between great and evil, death and injustice.”

The exhibition reveals George and dragon in several types, from armour-clad warrior slaying a fearsome beast, to a fey, boyish and even bare-chested hero dispatching harmless hunting creatures tiny greater than a pet dog. The maidens he is supposed to be rescuing selection from the terrified, the fleeing, the praying and the obviously indifferent.

Manfred Sellink, exhibition co-curator and director of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp who helped track down a lot of of the exhibits, stated the image of George the good guy lives on in the figures of existing day popular culture like James Bond and Batman.

“He’s possibly the most depicted of the saints from really basic well-liked culture to higher sophisticated art. It’s an picture that is deeply embedded in our culture and also really eye-catching to artists who acquired to depict a landscape, a monster, a stunning woman and a brave warrior,” Sellink said.

L’Homme, Le Dragon et La Mort: La Gloire de Saint Georges runs at the Musée des Arts Comtemporains (MAC) at Grand-Hornu outside Mons from 18 October to 17 January.