St Nicholas of Bari banishing the Storm

On display

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 once 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 stood in the church of San Niccolò that once stood in Cafaggio, Florence.


  • Title

    St Nicholas of Bari banishing the Storm

  • Associated place

    Europe (place of creation)
  • Date

    1433 - 1435
  • Material and technique

    tempera and gilding on panel

  • Object type

  • Dimensions

    29 x 59 cm (height x width)
  • No. of items


  • Credit line

    Presented by William Thomas Horner Fox-Strangways, 1850.

  • Museum location

    Second floor | Gallery 42 | Early Italian Art
  • Museum department

    Western Art

  • Accession no.


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Further reading

Piper, David, and Christopher White, Treasures of the Ashmolean Museum: An Illustrated Souvenir of the Collections, revised edn (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1995), no. 47 on p. 49, illus. p. 49 fig. 47

Reference URL

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