About this artwork

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).

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Gerard David

Gerard David