Bishop Saint, probably St. Martin of Tours
Bishop Saint, probably St. Martin of Tours

Bishop Saint, probably St. Martin of Tours

c. 1300 Spain

Offered by Joanna Booth

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Spain, Catalonia, circa 1300. Limestone with some original colour.
The elongated stance of this sculpture indicates that he
was probably a hieratic figure on the west façade of a
church, possibly within a niche where his upper part
would have had some protection from the weather. St.
Martin, as Bishop of Tours raises his hand in blessing
to the faithful or possibly he is making the distinctive
circular gesture representing the closing movements of
the Benedictio Graeca. As the founder of some of the
first monasteries he was a popular image in the
thirteenth and fourteenth century with many churches
dedicated to him. The growth of monasteries
throughout Spain resulted in French and particularly
Burgundian influences becoming apparent in Iberian
sculpture and architecture. This was also compounded
by Pilgrim routes and portable items such as
manuscripts and small ivories.
The sculpture portrays similarities to ecclesiastical
column figures in France with his stalwart pose, his
drapery folds and the tight curls around the edge of his
mitre. His expression is one of detached serenity, his
eyes and eye brows well accentuated with the tones of
colour similar to frescoes in Catalonian churches. His
chasuble falls in soft ‘trough’ folds but descends into a
more rigid lines to strengthen his stance whilst his staff
is angled to reflect his slight contra posta.
See Museu Episcopal de Vic Guide to the Collections Vic City
Council Generalitat de Catalunya P.184 For a similar image of
St. Martin from the Church of Sant Marti in Ogassa (Ripolles)
MEV 268
Height 110.00 cm (43.31 inches)
Joanna Booth

Joanna Booth
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