Saint Martin and the Beggar, with the Virgin and Child Flanked by a Bishop Saint and a Pilgrim Saint Above
Share

Reference URL

Saint Martin and the Beggar, with the Virgin and Child Flanked by a Bishop Saint and a Pilgrim Saint Above about 1609
St Martin was an early Christian Saint from Hungary who served in the Roman army and later became bishop of Tours in France. This drawing illustrates one of the most commonly represented incidents from St Martin’s life, which occurred one winter while he was serving with the army in Gaul. St Martin had encountered an old beggar freezing in the cold and took out his sword to divide his military cloak in two to share it with the man. That night, Christ appeared to St Martin in a dream wearing the portion of the cloak that he had given away. This drawing is very close to an altarpiece of the same subject that was executed by Palma’s pupil Camillo Rama for the parish church of Zanano di Sarezzo in 1609. It is likely that Palma made this drawing to assist his pupil.

Glossary Open

Altarpiece

An artwork behind a church altar featuring religious scenes or imagery which was usually the focus for the celebration of the Mass.

Altarpiece

Details

  • Acc. No. D 697
  • Medium Brush and oil colour over black chalk on buff paper (squared in black chalk)
  • Size 39.10 x 25.90 cm
  • Credit David Laing Bequest to the Royal Scottish Academy transferred 1910