Saint Martin of Tours and the Magical Cloak

Milan Duomo Stained-glass window V15

The Life of Saint Martin of Tours (1570 - first quarter of the 17th century) by Unknown master glassmakerVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

Set above the late 16th-century altar of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, stained-glass window V15 depicts the life of Saint Martin of Tours.

A markedly Flemish style

An artwork made after the 1570s, window V15 depicts various figures densely crowded together, defined in a distinct style, almost hieratic.

To admire the stories of the Saint from Tours in the sequence established by the master glassmakers, it is necessary to look at the upper part of the window, where the narrative opens powerfully.

The episode of the cloak marks the life of Saint Martin. While riding his horse, Martin comes across a shivering beggar. He brandishes his sword, not to hurt him but to divide his cloak in two, giving him one half.

The miraculous narrative starts with this gesture and continues from top to bottom and from left to right.

The meeting with the poor man directs Martin of Tours onto a new path. He gets baptized and leaves the military.

He is the protagonist of several prodigious episodes, including the Healing of a sick man. Once consecrated as a bishop, he began his own pastoral work.

The Appearance of Saints Peter and Paul, the Devil tempting Saint Martin, Saint Martin frees the possessed steer...

A series of trefoil panels depicting busts of prophets suspends the narrative, they come from a lost stained-glass window dedicated to Saint Julitta—a work by Michelino da Besozzo.

The lower part tells the story until the Death of the Saint and depicts his spirit being transported up to Heaven by the angels.

Panels depicting the Presentation of Mary at the Temple  end the window, a tribute to the altar located below, which is embellished with a marble altarpiece by Agostino Robusti, known as "Bambaja".

Read more on Milan Cathedral Remixed.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Milan Cathedral
Discover amazing stories kept tens of meters high
View theme
Google apps