In 1505 Lucas Cranach became court painter to Friedrich the Wise, Elector of Saxony, and established a workshop in Wittenberg. Friedrich actively encouraged Cranach's production of prints since they promoted the artistic and intellectual vitality of his court and the magnificence of his patronage. Friedrich's coat of arms of crossed swords and the arms of Saxony appear prominently on most of Cranach's prints, suggesting that the artist had an exclusive authorization to publish prints under Friedrich's legal protection.
Together with Albrecht Dürer and Hans Burgkmair, Cranach raised the northern European woodcut to a high level of artistic expression in the first decade of the 16th century. Since many of these prints were produced for mass consumption and were not highly valued at the time, examples are now rare, especially fine, early impressions such as Saint George and the Dragon, printed before any breaks had developed in the woodblock. This impression is also special because it has never been bleached or pressed, so the embossing by the woodblock is still apparent, and every fine line is sharp and clear.