BICCI DI LORENZO
(b. 1373, Firenze, d. 1452, Firenze)

St Nicholas of Bari Banishing the Storm

1433-35
Tempera and gilding on panel, 29 x 59 cm
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

This panel comes from the predella of a large altar-piece of 1433-35 for San Niccolò in Cafaggio, Florence, whose parts are now scattered in various collections. The Virgin and Child with Four Angels in the centre was flanked by pairs of saints (Sts Benedict and Nicholas of Bari and St John the Baptist and an Evangelist, probably St Matthew). The predella showed scenes from the life of St Nicholas, of which five are known: the birth of the saint; pilgrims at the shrine of the saint; St Nicholas resuscitating three youths; the saint providing dowries for three sisters (three gold balls, his traditional attribute); and banishing the storm. The panels probably originally had quatrefoil frames. Bicci based the design of on Gentile da Fabriano's Quaratesi altar-piece of 1425 for San Niccolò oltr'Arno.




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