Renæssanceforum 12 • 2017

close window

Gudrun Haastrup
Sankt Martin og hans kappe

Saint Martin and his Cloak
St. Martin is usually presented as a soldier on horseback in front of the town of Amiens. This scene refers to his act of charity when he shared his cape with a beggar. According to the literary sources later than the main witness Sulpicius Severus, the scene is a psychological and poetical elaboration, with a special interest in Martin as bishop of Tours and in the dissemination of his miracles. Gregor of Tours follows up on this. The aim is for Tours to be the city of choice for the pilgrims worshipping Martin, and for Martin to become the leading saint in France. It is suggested that the French Merovingian kings' interest in Martin was essential to the later and very popular iconographic depiction of Martin as former Roman soldier.