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Saint Nicholas Sculpture In Limestone – 16th Century

Saint Nicholas Sculpture In Limestone – 16th Century

Object description :

"Saint Nicholas Sculpture In Limestone – 16th Century "
Very beautiful sculpture in the round on white limestone representing Saint Nicholas.
In a standing position, the Saint is depicted as a bishop wearing his miter and wearing a red chasuble.
He holds a crosier in his left hand while his right hand makes the gesture of blessing.
At his feet, three children pray in a salt room.
The facial expression is young and marked with great gentleness and profound wisdom.
A pretty polychromy is still present throughout this sculpture dating from the 16th century.

H. 73 cm x L. 28 cm x D. 17 cm

South of France
Soft limestone stone
16th century
Upper part of the stock missing

The legend of Saint Nicholas

Nicholas, one of the most popular saints, belongs more to legend than to history.
From its very rich legend two episodes are particularly famous: the resurrection of the three children thrown into the salting room and the endowment of the three virgins, an episode also called ''Charity of Saint Nicholas'' by assimilation to the Charity of Saint Martin.
The sculpture we are presenting belongs to the first episode: the famous story, to say the least, of three children who, in times of famine, ask for hospitality from a butcher (or an innkeeper). He kills them, cuts them into pieces, ''thrown in the salting room like pigs'', in order to serve them to his customers. By making the sign of the cross, Saint Nicholas manages to put the pieces together and resurrect the three children.
Many other miracles are attributed to Saint Nicholas. Many relate to the sea, and the saint early became the patron saint of sailors and then travelers. It is also that of children, marriageable girls, perfumers, apothecaries and Russia.
It is probably because of the gifts he offers to the three virgins and because his feast day is located in December that Nicholas becomes, from the end of the Middle Ages, the holy distributor of New Year gifts at Christmas. He has remained so in a large part of Europe, where he plays the role of “Santa Claus” at the start of Advent.
Cf: The Bible and the Saints - Gaston Duchet-Suchaux & Michel Pastoureau - Flammarion

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Saint Nicholas Sculpture In Limestone – 16th Century
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