Wednesday, November 11, 2020

09 works, Today, November 11th, is Martin of Tours' day, his story illustrated #314

Winifred Margaret Knights (1899–1947)
Scenes from The Life of Saint Martin of Tours by Winifred Knights (c.1928-33)
Milner Memorial Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral

Winifred Margaret Knights (1899–1947) was born on 5 June 1899 in Streatham. From 1912, Knights attended James Allen's Girls' School in Dulwich where she showed an early artistic talent. She pursued formal art training at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1915–17 and again from 1918-20, under the tutelage of Henry Tonks and Fred Brown. During World War One, Knights was traumatised after witnessing the Silvertown explosion at a TNT processing works in January 1917, which led to a break in her studies where she would take refuge at her father's cousins' farm in Worcestershire. 

At the end of the War, returning to the Slade, Knights began to draw upon personal themes. In 1919, Knights won the Slade Summer Composition Prize for Mill Hands on Strike. The following year she became the first woman in England to win the prestigious Scholarship in Decorative Painting awarded by the British School at Rome. In 1920 she moved to Italy to complete her scholarship. In 1922, the Tate purchased an Italian landscape painted by Knights. She remained in Rome from 1920 to 1925. The relationship with Mason ended and she married fellow Rome Scholar Thomas Monnington on 23 April 1924. Her first major work in Rome, The Marriage at Cana, was completed in 1923.

Knights returned to the Slade in the years 1926-27 and exhibited at both the Imperial Gallery in Kensington and the Duveen Gallery. In the period 1928-33 Knights executed the altarpiece Scenes from the Life of St Martin of Tours for the Milner Memorial Chapel at Canterbury Cathedral (above). In 1929 Knights was elected to the New English Art Club, but never exhibited with them. 

Knights died from a brain tumour in London in 1947 at the age of 47.[2] The first major retrospective of Winifred Knights was held at Dulwich Picture Gallery from June to September 2016. More on Winifred Margaret Knights

Martin was born around 330 of pagan parents. His father was a senior officer in the Roman army. A few years after Martin's birth, his father was given veteran status and was allocated land on which to retire in northern Italy, where Martin grew up.

Simone Martini, (1284–1344) 
St. Martin receiving knighthood, c. 1322-1326
Lower Basilica of San Francesco, Assisi, Italy

Simone Martini, see below

As the son of a veteran officer, Martin at 15 was required to join a cavalry. At the age of 18 he was stationed at in Gaul. It is likely that he joined the heavy cavalry unit listed in the Notitia Dignitatum. As the unit was stationed at Milan and is also recorded at Trier, it is likely to have been part of the elite cavalry bodyguard of the Emperor, which accompanied him on his travels around the Empire.

El Greco, (1541–1614)
Saint Martin and the Beggar, c. circa 1597-1599
Oil on canvas
Height: 193.5 cm (76.1 in); Width: 103 cm (40.5 in)
National Gallery of Art,  Washington, D.C

Doménikos Theotokópoulos (1541 – 7 April 1614), most widely known as El Greco; Spanish for "The Greek", was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. The nickname "El Greco" refers both to his Greek origin and Spanish citizenship. The artist normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters.
El Greco was born in Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and the center of Post-Byzantine art. He trained and became a master within that tradition before traveling at age 26 to Venice, as other Greek artists had done. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best-known paintings.
El Greco's dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century. El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, while his personality and works were a source of inspiration for poets and writers. El Greco has been characterized by modern scholars as an artist so individual that he belongs to no conventional school. He is best known for tortuously elongated figures and often fantastic or phantasmagorical pigmentation, marrying Byzantine traditions with those of Western painting. More on El Greco

One winter day he saw an ill-clad beggar at the gate of the city of Amiens. Martin had no money to give, but he cut his cloak in half and gave half to the beggar. In a dream that night, Martin saw Christ wearing the half-cloak. 

Simone Martini, (1284–1344)
St Martin leaves the life of chivalry and renounces the army, c. rom 1322 until 1326
Chapel of San Martino, Lower Church, San Francesco, Assisi

Simone Martini (c. 1284 – 1344) was an Italian painter born in Siena. He was a major figure in the development of early Italian painting and greatly influenced the development of the International Gothic style.

It is thought that Martini was a pupil of Duccio di Buoninsegna, the leading Sienese painter of his time. According to late Renaissance art biographer Giorgio Vasari, Simone was instead a pupil of Giotto di Bondone, with whom he went to Rome to paint at the Old St. Peter's Basilica, Giotto also executing a mosaic there. Martini's brother-in-law was the artist Lippo Memmi. Very little documentation of Simone's life survives, and many attributions are debated by art historians. More on Simone Martini

He had for some time considered becoming a Christian, and this ended his wavering. He was promptly baptized. At the end of his next military campaign, he asked to be released from the army, saying: "Hitherto I have faithfully served Caesar. Let me now serve Christ." He was accused of cowardice, and offered to stand unarmed between the contending armies. He was imprisoned, but released when peace was signed.

Jeanne and Richard de Montbaston
The ordination of Saint Hilary of Poitiers, c. 14th C
I have no further description, at this time

Richard Montbaston was a copyist in Paris in the late 14th  century. From his workshop came out in particular the Roman of the rose , illuminated by his wife, Jeanne.
Having sworn in the booksellers' oath in 1338, Richard de Montbaston is mentioned as a "bookseller" in the colophon in the Life of the Saints . On the other hand, his wife, Jeanne, took the oath of the booksellers in 1353 as illuminatrix and libraria , which gave rise to speculations according to which if Richard had the title of copyist and was indeed the owner of the workshop, he it would be impossible to attribute to him the illuminations of his manuscripts and that they should be due to his wife, Jeanne, although her work is not documented in any surviving manuscript. More on Richard Montbaston

He became a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers, a chief opponent in the West of the Arians, who denied the full deity of Christ, and who had the favor of the emperor Constantius. Returning to his parents' home in Illyricum, he opposed the Arians with such effectiveness that he was publicly scourged and exiled. He was subsequently driven from Milan, and eventually returned to Gaul. There he founded the first monastery in Gaul, which lasted until the French Revolution.

In 371 he was elected bishop of Tours. His was a mainly pagan diocese, but his instruction and personal manner of life prevailed. In one instance, the pagan priests agreed to fell their idol, a large fir tree, if Martin would stand directly in the path of its fall. He did so, and it missed him very narrowly. When an officer of the Imperial Guard arrived with a batch of prisoners who were to be tortured and executed the next day, Martin intervened and secured their release.

Unknown Master, German (active c. 1450)
St Martin of Tours and St Nicholas of Bari, about 1450
Tempera, gold on wood panel
Height: 76.2 cm; Width: 67.3 cm
Art Gallery of South Australia

In the year 384, the heretic (Gnostic) Priscillian and six companions had been condemned to death by the emperor Maximus. The bishops who had found them guilty in the ecclesiastical court pressed for their execution. Martin contended that the secular power had no authority to punish heresy, and that the excommunication by the bishops was an adequate sentence. In this he was upheld by Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. 

Pierre Le Gros the Younger
Religion Overthrowing Heresy and Hatred, c. 1695–1699
H. 3 m (9 ft. 10 in.)
Church of the Gesù, Rome, Italy.

Pierre Le Gros (12 April 1666 Paris – 3 May 1719 Rome) was a French sculptor, active almost exclusively in Baroque Rome where he was the pre-eminent sculptor for nearly two decades.

He created monumental works of sculpture for the Jesuits and the Dominicans and found himself center stage of the two most prestigious artistic campaigns of his era, the Altar of Saint Ignatius of Loyola in the Gesù and the cycle of the twelve huge Apostle statues in the nave of the Lateran basilica. Le Gros' handling of the marble attracted powerful patrons like the papal treasurer Lorenzo Corsini and Cardinal de Bouillon, as Dean of the Sacred College the highest ranking cardinal. He also played a prominent role in more intimate settings like the chapel of the Monte di Pietà and the Cappella Antamori in San Girolamo della Carità, both little treasures of the Roman late baroque not known to many because they are difficult to access.

Le Gros was the most exuberant baroque sculptor of all his contemporaries but eventually lost his long battle for artistic dominance to a prevailing classicist tendency against which he fought in vain. More on Pierre Le Gros

He refused to leave Treves until the emperor promised to reprieve them. No sooner was his back turned than the bishops persuaded the emperor to break his promise; Priscillian and his followers were executed. This was the first time that heresy was punished by death.

Martin was furious, and excommunicated the bishops responsible. But afterwards, he took them back into communion in exchange for a pardon from Maximus for certain men condemned to death, and for the emperor's promise to end the persecution of the remaining Priscillianists. He never felt easy in his mind about this concession, and thereafter avoided assemblies of bishops where he might encounter some of those concerned in this affair. He died on or about 11 November 397 and his shrine at Tours became a sanctuary for those seeking justice.

Simone Martini, (1284–1344)
Death of St Martin (scene 9), c. 1320-25
284 x 230 cm
Cappella di San Martino, Lower Church, San Francesco, Assisi

For Simone Martini, (1284–1344), please see above

The Feast of Martin, a soldier who fought bravely and faithfully in the service of an earthly sovereign, and then enlisted in the service of Christ, is also the day of the Armistice which marked the end of the First World War. On it we remember those who have risked or lost their lives in what they perceived as the pursuit of justice and peace. More on Martin of Tours

Jean Fouquet
The charity of Saint Martin, c. 15th century
 Louvre museum, Department of Miniatures and Illuminations

Fouquet placed the story of St. Martin in a Parisian context, at the entrance to the Grand Châtelet. While his companions are already entering the vault, Martin puts his sword back in the scabbard after cutting his coat in half, clothe the poor man with his half. Below, in the letter O, Christ, identifying himself with the poor, appears in a dream to Martin. Two other episodes from the saint's life are mentioned in the lower panels: his fall caused by the demon and the visit of the Virgin, Saint Agnes and Saint Thècle. More on this work

Jean (or Jehan) Fouquet (ca.1420–1481) was a French painter and miniaturist. A master of panel painting, manuscript illumination, and the apparent inventor of the portrait miniature, he is considered one of the most important painters from the period between the late Gothic and early Renaissance. He was the first French artist to travel to Italy and experience first-hand the early Italian Renaissance.
He was born in Tours. Little is known of his life, but it is certain that he was in Italy before 1447, when he executed a portrait of Pope Eugene IV, who died that year. The portrait survives only in copies from much later.
Upon his return to France, while retaining his purely French sentiment, he grafted the elements of the Tuscan style, which he had acquired during his period in Italy, upon the style of the Van Eycks, forming the basis of early 15th-century French art and becoming the founder of an important new school.
His work can be associated with the French court's attempt to solidify French national identity in the wake of its long struggle with England in the Hundred Years' War. More on Jean Fouquet

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