Saint Martin and the Beggar

Saint Martin and the Beggar

early 1500s

Gilt bronze

Diameter: 4.5 cm (1 3/4 in.)

Gift of Mrs. Chester D. Tripp 1971.163



This plate is an appliqué seal, intended as a decorative element for a garment or possibly as a simple pilgrimage medallion. The work tells a story of charity. It depicts Martin of Tours, a French soldier of the fourth century who, when accosted by a beggar at the gates of Amiens, cut a portion of his cloak and gave it to him. St. Martin is depicted midway through cutting away his cloak with his saber.
The bronze is often attributed to an artist in the northern Netherlands, which is due in part to the popularity of several motifs there at the turn of the sixteenth century. The depiction of plantlife, for instance, is highly detailed, recalling Netherlandish scenes of the time. A similar seal (now in Berlin) belonged to Johann Potken, who has the provost of the Monastery of St. Martin. This monastery was located in the now-German city of Emmerich am Rhein, not far from the Dutch city of Nijmegen. Despite the seal's Germanic attributes, the figures' physical qualities suggest the artist's awareness of Italian Renaissance art.

See also
Type of artwork: 
Gilt bronze

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email