Advent Calendar Day 6

St Nicholas of Bari Banishing the Storm


St Nicholas of Bari Banishing the Storm


St Nicholas of Bari banishing the Storm by Bicci di Lorenzo (1373–1452)

Caught in a storm, with ragged sails blowing in the wind, the crew and passengers of this struggling ship frantically throw chests and bales overboard to lighten the load. They pray to St Nicholas, who banishes the black storm clouds and reveals the clear star-sprinkled sky.

His flying pose is echoed in reverse by a mermaid who speeds away to the left. She evokes the dangers of the sea and the pagan creatures that Christianity had defeated. 

This colourful scene was originally grouped with other panels depicting the life and miracles of St Nicholas. These stories formed the 'predella', or lower section of an altarpiece, with the Virgin and Child with angels and pairs of saints. The altarpiece was painted for the church of San Niccolò at Cafaggio, Florence.

St Nicholas of Bari banishing the Storm
Bicci di Lorenzo (1373–1452)

Tempera and gold on panel
29 x 59 cm

On display in our Italian Renaissance Gallery



Animation of a painting showing Saint Nicholas banishing a stormy sea and saving a ship and its sailors

Look out for a special festive addition coming to the Ashmolean Adventure digital guide for families this December...

The new activity features the painting of St Nicholas of Bari banishing the Storm in our Early Italian Art Gallery.

You'll meet St Nicholas as you have fun exploring the picture, which reveals one of his miracles, and discover how his story connects with all our celebrations.

Book your Ashmolean family adventure before you visit