St. Martin (c.1494) by Albrecht Durer

St. Martin - Albrecht Durer - c.1494

Artwork Information

TitleSt. Martin
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance

About St. Martin

The artwork titled “St. Martin” was created by Albrecht Dürer around 1494. It is a religious painting from the Northern Renaissance movement, which reflects the heightened interest in detail, naturalism, and individualism that characterized this period.

In “St. Martin,” the depiction showcases the well-known scene of Saint Martin of Tours, who was a Roman soldier before he became a monk and eventually a bishop. The scene is one of charity and compassion, where Saint Martin is seen sharing his cloak with a beggar. The etching is detailed and delicate, demonstrating Dürer’s skill in this medium. Saint Martin appears on horseback dominating the composition, clad in the attire of a soldier with rich fabric and a fur-trimmed cape, signifying his status. He holds his sword, having cut or in the act of cutting his cloak to give a piece to the beggar beside him. The poor man is depicted on his knees with a look of gratitude, reaching out toward Saint Martin. He is thin and seems to be in need, significantly contraposed to the well-groomed and healthy looking horse and its rider. In the background a serene landscape with light trees, a distant city, and a clear sky can be seen, adding depth and context to the encounter.

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