Again a tiny historical review is necessary to appreciate what is at stake. The Porta Sancti Martini is Freiburg's oldest and most picturesque gate. It was first mentioned in 1238 in a document, although the building is much older.
The postcard shows the gate in 1905, where on the inner side, in 1851, Wilhelm Dürr the older painted the famous scene with the Roman soldier Martin cutting his cloak and handing one half to a naked beggar.
The above photo I shot in 2004. Two changes are clearly visible: the Restaurant Zum Martinsthor became a McDonald's fast food, and Dürr's painting on the gate disappeared. It had become necessary to take it off in 1968 when pieces of the degraded picture started to fall onto pedestrians. The face was plastered white and had been without decoration since then.
|Simon Göser's St. Martin (©BZ)|
Red Baron dislikes Martin's rose-colored cloak and would prefer a more modern approach to the main message, "For I was naked, and ye clothed me" (Matthew 25,36).
Are we already fixed when Freiburg's finance minister - although he will not contribute one cent to an operation that should be privately sponsored - stated, "Either Göser's painting or a white surface?"
Will modern painters get a chance? It will be interesting to see how they will attack the old story fulfilling at the same time the condition of Freiburg's head of Cityscape, "Any child looking at the picture will recognize, "This is St. Martin and the beggar."