SIMONE MARTINI
(b. 1280/85, Siena, d. 1344, Avignon)

St Martin Renounces his Weapons (scene 4)

1320-25
Fresco, 265 x 230 cm
Cappella di San Martino, Lower Church, San Francesco, Assisi

In this fresco we see Martin, as an officer in the Roman army face to face with the enemy, announcing his decision: "I am a soldier of Christ and I cannot fight." To the left, the Roman camp, with Emperor Julian, a group of soldiers and the treasurer distributing money to the mercenaries. To the right, waiting for the battle, behind the hill, the barbarian army with their armour and their spears. Martin (still a knight, but carrying a cross and shown in the act of blessing) is looking towards the Emperor but walking towards the enemy. His battle is the struggle against paganism, and his only weapon is the word of Christ.