Museum: San Martino del Vescovo

San Martino del Vescovo, also known as the Oratorio dei Buonomini di San Martino, is a Roman Catholic parish church, located in the small piazza of the same name in Florence, Italy.

Nine of the interior frescoes are attributed to the workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio although their dating remains a contentious issue. Eight of the cycle of ten murals are based on the Seven Works of Corporal Mercy and show the Buonomini performing activities based on these tasks. The brothers are depicted giving food and drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, giving shelter to pilgrims, releasing a debtor from gaol, burying the dead, witnessing an espousal and making an initial visit to a family in need.

The two frescoes which flank the altar show scenes from the life of St Martin of Tours. The lunette to the left of the altar shows Martin dividing his cloak for the beggar and the one to the right, depicts The Dream of Saint Martin; the latter has recently been attributed to Lorenzo di Credi. Inside is an altarpiece of a Madonna with Infant Jesus and St. John by Niccolò Soggi and a bust of St Antoninus which is attributed to Verrocchio. The Buonomini are to this day active in Florence although their charitable activities remain secret. Each Friday afternoon the twelve good men meet in the Sala Riunioni to discuss the confraternity's business. The frescoes and the interior of the oratory underwent a sympathetic restoration program in April 2011.


Photo by Sailko via Wikimedia Commons