LORENZETTI, Ambrogio
(b. ca. 1290, Siena, d. 1348, Siena)

Scenes of the Life of St Nicholas

c. 1332
Tempera on wood, 92 x 49 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

The panel (and another also in the Uffizi) came from the church of St Procolo in Florence where it was recorded by Vasari. Presumably it was painted as side wing of a triptych which had a figure of St Nicholas in the central panel (which has disappeared) during the second visit of Ambrogio to Florence between 1327 and 1332, or later. Another possibility is that the panels made up a tabernacle door.

The upper scene represents St Nicholas giving dowry to three virgins. An impoverished nobleman is ready to prostitute his three daughters as no one will accept them in marriage without dowries. To save them from such a dishonourable fate, Nicholas, on three consecutive nights, throws each of them a bag full of gold through their window.

The lower scene shows Nicholas' consecration as bishop.