|Saint Nicholas of Myra,
Bishop - Third/Fourth Centuries
Myra was a port city in Lycia (now part of Turkey). The saint is also known as Nicholas of Bari, because his relics were translated to that Italian city after Myra fell to the Turks.
Three episodes of Nicholas's life are popular in narrative images. The first is his gift of three bags of gold to the three daughters of an impoverished nobleman (example). The second is his stilling of a storm at sea (example). And the third is his rescue of three youngsters whom a butcher had cut up and pickled during a famine (example). The Golden Legend relates the episodes of the gold and the storm, but not the butchered boys.
A less common episode is the miracle of the Jew and the thieves, from the Golden Legend.
In portraits the saint carries his crozier and usually wears a mitre and other liturgical garb (example). Three golden balls, representing his gifts to the three daughters, are sometimes used as his attribute, as at left.
Feast day: December 6
At left, 15th century painting by Vivarini
The Perugia triptych predella: section 1Portraits:
di Paolo's Exaltation of St. Nicholas, 1446Among other saints:
In the Ugljan Polyptych, 1450Hagiography: