Saint Nicholas is one of the central figures and most known saints in Christianity. It is no wonder that lots of works dedicated to his personality are immensely prominent around the world. Moreover, the image of the venerated bishop appears not only in traditional Orthodox icons but also in numerous paintings and other pieces of religious art.
St. Nicholas in Religious Art
Saint Nicholas of Myra was a Christian bishop of the ancient city of Myra in Greece. Being the benefactor for a vast spectrum of people, he is also known worldwide as Nicholas the Wonderworker, largely due to so many miracles attributed to his intercession.
The image of St. Nicholas is mostly prevalent in religious art and icon painting in particular. It would take a long time to list all popular St. Nicholas icons, but let us draw your attention to two special ones: the icon of Nikola Lipniy and the Byzantine icon of Saint Nicholas.
The first icon was painted in 1294 for Saint Nicholas Church on Lipno Island in Novgorod and represents the ancient Russian icon painting style. The second icon shows the bishop from the Byzantine viewpoint; it was painted in the 10th century in the Byzantine Empire. Against the background of these two icons, we can see how two main icon painting schools depict the image of St. Nicholas differently.
It is also impossible not to mention the notable Ilya Repin’s tribute to the image of the saint. In his 1888 painting “Saint Nicholas of Myra saves three innocents from death,” Repin puts St. Nicholas in real conditions, showing him preventing the injustice at the time when the saint was a bishop in Myra in Lycia.
St. Nicholas has always been the source of hope for many Christians and the source of inspiration for many artists in all fields of art, and he will always be.