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Dragons appear in a number of mythological and pseudo-religious stories represented in paintings in the National Gallery. In most instances the beasts symbolise a force of evil. Saint George slays a dragon, and so by implication the forces of righteousness triumph over those of the devil.

Perseus saves Andromeda from a sea monster according to Ovid's version of their story in the 'Metamorphoses'. The beast is often depicted in the form of a dragon.

A similar theme is followed in the tale of Ruggiero's saving of Angelica in Ariosto's poem 'Orlando Furioso'.

'Dragon's blood' is the name given to the red resin, derived from the Dracaena tree, which was used by artists as an orange glaze for decorating areas of gilding.