Spain, Catalonia, circa 1300, Limestone with some original colour.
The elongated stance of this sculpture indicates that he was probably a hieratic figure on the west façade of a church, possibly within a niche where his upper part would have had some protection from the weather.
St. Martin, as Bishop of Tours raises his hand in blessing to the faithful or possibly he is making the distinctive circular gesture representing the closing movements of the Benedictio Graeca. As the founder of some of the first monasteries he was a popular image in the thirteenth and fourteenth century with many churches dedicated to him. The growth of monasteries throughout Spain resulted in French and particularly Burgundian influences becoming apparent in Iberian sculpture and architecture. This was also compounded by Pilgrim routes and portable items such as manuscripts and small ivories.
The sculpture portrays similarities to ecclesiastical column figures in France with his stalwart pose, his drapery folds and the tight curls around the edge of his mitre. His expression is one of detached serenity, his eyes and eye brows well accentuated with the tones of colour similar to frescoes in Catalonian churches. His chasuble falls in soft ‘trough’ folds but descends into a more rigid lines to strengthen his stance whilst his staff is angled to reflect his slight contra posta.