Saint Martin of Tours

Saint Martin of Tours

c. 1480-1500

Polychromed walnut

Overall: 124.5 x 105.1 x 41.9 cm (49 x 41 3/8 x 16 1/2 in.)

Weight: 145 lbs

Gift of the John Huntington Art and Polytechnic Trust 1915.563


According to tradition, Saint Martin was born during the reign of Constantine the Great (AD 306–337) and served as a member of the Roman cavalry in Gaul. There he earned a reputation for humility and boundless charity. During the severe winter of AD 322 at Amiens, Martin's compassion for others led him to divide his cloak with his sword, and to give half to a poor, naked beggar. This event, along with Martin's subsequent vision of the beggar as Christ, eventually led to the saint's widespread popularity throughout medieval Europe. Saint Martin was particularly venerated in the city of Tours where he served as bishop, where his tomb is located, and of which he remains the patron saint.

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