St Martin Sharing His Cloak with a Beggar

Karel Škréta

Karel Škréta - St Martin Sharing His Cloak with a Beggar
Coming from the high altar of St Martin in the Wall church in the Old Town of Prague, this painting proves Škréta’s mastery in monumental altarpieces. In an original way, the canvas combines and revaluates the Venetian colour scheme and the Caravaggesque chiaroscuro, while the painter found inspiration for its composition in Flemish models (Anthonis van Dyck, Maerten de Vos). Škréta captured two moments from the life of St Martin in his painting: the foreground shows him as a Roman soldier outside the gates of the city of Amiens, when he divided his cloak to help the half-naked beggar, whereas the background recalls him as a bishop raising a girl from the dead. In the spirit of Catholic theology, the archaic type of depicting one and the same person in different moments of time within one painting was to point out the relations between an act of charity and a visible expression of God’s mercy.
measurements: height 324 cm
width 186 cm
material: canvas
technique: oil
inventory number: O 18930
gallery collection: Collection of Old Masters

more artworks