Giambattista Tiepolo (1696-1770)
St. Martin of Tours

18th century
Venetian School
Ca' Rezzonico, Venice, Italy

The museum's label identifies this bishop with his mitre and crozier as St. Martin of Tours. Martin was indeed a bishop. He is most often pictured sharing his cloak with a pauper, but the Veneto remembers him pre-eminently as an opponent of Arianism.

The possibility may be considered that this is not Martin of Tours at all. Neither in history nor in legend is he said to have been martyred, yet his right arm holds a palm branch, the symbol of martyrdom.

The acolyte returning the viewer's gaze is unidentified. Could he be a relative of the donor?

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Photographed at the Ca' Rezzonico by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.