Gentile da Fabriano
(Fabriano circa 1370 - Rome 1427)
Stories of St Nicholas of Bari, 1425
tempera on wood
cm. 35,5 x 36 ; cm.30 x 62 (cat. 40249)
Invv. 40247, 40248, 40250, 40249
The tables form four (of the five) panels of the predella of the polyptych commissioned by the Quaratesi family for the high altar of the church of S. Nicolò sopr'Arno in Florence. The work was considered one of the best among those painted by Gentile da Fabriano, whose signature appeared together with the date May 1425 in a lost text. It is therefore one of the last paintings done by the artist who died just two years later in Rome. The Quaratesi polyptych remained in the church until 1830 when it was dismantled and sold (The central panel with Our Lady enthroned with the Child is in Hampton Court in England, the four side panels with St. Mary Magdalene, St Nicholas of Bari, St John the Baptist and St George in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence; the fifth panel of the predella with the Pilgrims at the tomb of St Nicholas is in the National Gallery of Art of Washington).
The episodes shown are: The birth of St Nicholas; Gift to the three poor girls; St Nicholas revives three youths put into brine and St Nicholas saves a ship from sinking.