The panels form two of the three sections of the predella of a large triptych painted in 1437 by Fra Angelico for the Chapel of St Niccolò in the Church of S. Domenico in Perugia. The other parts of the altarpiece, dispersed in the 19th century, are preserved in the National Gallery of Umbria in Perugia.
The three sections of the predella illustrate events of the life of St Nicholas, patron saint of the chapel. The first of the Vatican panels shows three episodes of his youth, that is to say, the Birth of St Nicholas, his Vocation, the Gift to the three poor girls. The second shows the Meeting of St Nicholas with the imperial Legate, the Saving of a load of grain for the city of Myra, and lastly, the Miraculous saving of a ship from sinking.