The Charity of Saint Martin Artist: Ambrogio Lorenzetti (Siena, documented 1319–48)

ca. 1342–44

European Art

On view, 2nd floor, European Art

This small masterpiece of early Renaissance realism was originally the wing of a triptych that depicted the Virgin and Child (now in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena) at the center and the charity of Saint Nicolas of Bari (now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris) on its other wing. It relates the legend of Saint Martin who, as an eighteen-year-old Roman legionary, encountered a beggar at the city gate of Amiens and cut the cloak he was wearing into two halves to share with him. The following night he had a vision of Christ wearing half his cloak. In designing his scene, the great Sienese master Ambrogio Lorenzetti converted the Roman soldier to a medieval knight and imagined Amiens as a fortified medieval town.


Tempera and gold on panel


11 3/4 × 8 1/4 in. (29.9 × 20.9 cm)
picture surface: 11 9/16 × 7 9/16 in. (29.4 × 19.2 cm)

Credit Line

University Purchase from James Jackson Jarves

Accession Number



14th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



James Jackson Jarves Collection, Florence, to 1871; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
  • Norman E. Muller, "Ambrogio Lorenzetti's 'Small' Maesta reconsidered," Conservare necesse est. Oslo: IIC Nordic Group (1999), 214–224, fig. 3, 5–6
  • Creighton Gilbert, "Ambrogio Lorenzetti's Charitable Appeal," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (1997–98), 31–41, fig. 1
  • Elise K. Kenney, ed., Handbook of the Collections: Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 133
  • A. Brejon de Lavergnée and Dominique Thiébaut, Catalogue sommaire illustré des peintures du Musée du Louvre: Italie, Espagne, Allemagne, Grande-Bretagne et divers, 2 (Paris: Editions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1981), 195
  • Andrew Carnduff Ritchie and Katherine Neilson, Selected Paintings and Sculpture from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1972), no. 2, ill
  • Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972), 599
  • Charles Seymour Jr., Early Italian Paintings in the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1970), 72–75, no. 50, fig. 50
  • Bernard Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance, A List of the Principal Artists and Their Works with an Index of Places: Central Italian and North Italian Schools, 3 vols. (London: Phaidon, 1968), 1:221
  • G. Moran, Charles Seymour Jr., and Enzo Carli, "The Jarves St. Martin and the Beggar," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 31, no. 2 (Spring 1967), 28–39, ill
  • Francis Steegmuller, The Two Lives of James Jackson Jarves (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1951), 299, fig. 8
  • Federico Zeri Paragone 2 (1951), 52–54, 52–54 (as Ambrogio Lorenzetti)
  • "Picture Book Number One: Italian Painting," Bulletin of the Associates in Fine Arts at Yale University 15, nos. 1–3 (October 1946), fig. 18
  • Bernard Berenson, Pitture italiane del rinascimento: catalogo dei principali artisti e delle loro opere (Milan, Italy: Ulrico Hoepli, 1936), 459
  • Bernard Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: A List of the Principal Artists and Their Works with an Index of Places (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1932), 534
  • Bernard Berenson, Studies in Medieval Painting (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1930), 58
  • Richard Offner, Italian Primitives at Yale University: Comments and Revisions (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1927), 4–5, 38
  • Raimond van Marle, Simone Martini et les peintres de son école (Strasbourg, France: J. H. E. Heitz, 1920), 81–82, 81–82 (Simone Martini)
  • Osvald Sirén, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Pictures in the Jarves Collection Belonging to Yale University (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1916), 35–36
  • William Rankin, Notes on the Collections of Old Masters at Yale University, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Fogg Museum of Harvard University (Wellesley, Mass.: Department of Art, Wellesley College, 1905), 146
  • F. Mason Perkins, "Pitture senesi negli Stati Uniti," Rassegna d'arte senese 1, no. 2 (1905), 74, 76
  • Bernard Berenson, Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance, 2 (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1902), 252
  • Russell Sturgis, Jr., Manual of the Jarves Collection of Early Italian Pictures (New Haven, Conn.: Yale College, 1868), 51–52
  • James Jackson Jarves, Descriptive Catalogue of "Old Masters," Collected by James J. Jarves to Illustrate the History of Painting from A.D. 1200 to the Best Periods of Italian Art (Cambridge, Mass.: H. O. Houghton, 1860), 49, no. 56
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Object/Work type

religious art

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