ANDRÉ DURAND Twenty-First Century Paintings
SAINT MARTIN’S BEGGAR
Dimensions: 137 X 162
Oil on linen
ST MARTIN, CONFESSOR, BISHOP OF TOURS A.D. 397
For the history of St. Martin we are chiefly indebted to his illustrious disciple St. Sulpicius Severus who, in an elegant and classical style, wrote his life some time before his death.
Of his compassion and charity St. Sulpicius has recorded the following illustrious example. One day, in the midst of a very hard winter and severe frost, when many perished with cold, as he was marching with other officers and soldiers, he met at the gate of the city of Amiens a poor man, almost naked, trembling and shaking for cold, and begging alms of those that passed by. Martin, seeing those that went before him take no notice of this miserable object, thought he was reserved for himself. By his charities to others he had nothing left but his arms and clothes upon his back; when, drawing his sword, he cut his cloak in two pieces, gave one to the beggar, and wrapped himself in the other half. Some of the bystanders laughed at the figure he made in that dress, whilst others were ashamed not to have relieved the poor man. In the following night St. Martin saw in his sleep Jesus Christ dressed in that half of the garment which he had given away, and was bid to look at it well and asked whether he knew it. He then heard Jesus say, “Martin, yet a catechumen, has clothed me with this garment."