Three Legends of Saint Nicholas
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Three Legends of Saint Nicholas about 1500 - 1520
St Nicholas first appears here as a newly born baby miraculously standing up and praying. In the centre panel, he is an adult, looking through the window of an impoverished widower’s house. His anonymous present of money will provide dowries (marriage gifts) for the widower’s three daughters and save them from destitution. Finally, he is shown as a bishop reviving three murdered boys. St Nicholas was Archbishop of Myra, Asia Minor, in the fourth century who, famous for his kindness to children, was later associated with Santa Claus. The three panels formed part of a predella of a larger altarpiece (the other panels are in the National Gallery of Art, Washington and the Toledo Museum, Ohio).

Glossary Open

Altarpiece

An artwork behind a church altar featuring religious scenes or imagery which was usually the focus for the celebration of the Mass.

Predella

Horizontal band below the main panels of altarpiece, decorated with small scenes that relate to those above.

Altarpiece, Predella

Details

  • Acc. No. NG 2213
  • Medium Oil on panel
  • Size 3 panels each: 55.90 x 33.70 cm (framed: 73.30 x 131.40 x 9.00 cm)
  • Credit Purchased with the aid of the Art Fund and a Treasury Grant 1959