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St Martin of Tours

Martin (315 - 397) was a soldier, born in Hungary and brought up in Italy. At Amiens he came across a shivering beggar and divided his cloak in two, giving half to clothe the man. Later in a dream he saw Christ wearing the piece of material he had given away.

He was subsequently baptised and dedicated his life to private devotion and active missionary preaching. In about 370 he was made Bishop of Tours, but he continued to live a retiring life. As the father of monasticism in France, he was a figure of great importance.

The beggar can be seen in the middle ground to the left in David's 'Canon Bernardijn Salviati and Three Saints' in the Collection.