The J. Paul Getty Museum

Saint Martin Dividing His Cloak with a Beggar

Object Details

Title:

Saint Martin Dividing His Cloak with a Beggar

Artist/Maker:

Lorenzo Lotto (Italian (Venetian), about 1480 - 1556)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

about 1530

Medium:

Brush with gray-brown wash, heightened with white and cream-colored gouache, over black chalk on brown paper

Object Number:

83.GG.262

Dimensions:

31.4 × 21.7 cm (12 3/8 × 8 9/16 in.)

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Object Description

As his horse paws the ground anxiously, Saint Martin leans down with his sword to cut his cape in half. The naked beggar looks up gratefully at the saint as he wraps the edge of the cloak around his body. A Christian saint who founded the first monasteries in France, Saint Martin enrolled in the Roman army before joining the Roman Catholic Church. According to legend, he once came upon a poor man on the road, shivering in the cold, and cut in half his military cloak to share it with him. That night Christ appeared to him in a dream wearing the piece of cloak he had given away.

Using a very low viewpoint, Lorenzo Lotto focused attention on the figure of the saint and his mount. He used white and cream strokes of bodycolor to create a powerful sense of movement in the sweeping stretch of fabric, the leaning saint, and the horse's arching foot and neck.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Five Centuries of Drawings (October to November 1953)
  • Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Montréal), October to November 1953
Old Master Drawings (March 17 to May 22, 1960)
  • The Newark Museum (Newark), March 17 to May 22, 1960
Drawings from New York Collections: the Italian Renaissance (November 8, 1965 to January 9, 1966)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), November 8, 1965 to January 9, 1966
Early Venetian Drawings from Private Collections and the Fogg (February to April 1983)
  • Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University (Cambridge), February to April 1983
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (May 24 to August 8, 1993)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), May 24 to August 8, 1993
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994
Master Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (December 16, 1997 to February 22, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to February 22, 1998
From Line to Light: Renaissance Drawing in Florence and Venice (July 20 to October 10, 2010)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 20 to October 10, 2010
Spectacular Mysteries: Renaissance Drawings Revealed (December 11, 2018 to April 28, 2019)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 11, 2018 to April 28, 2019