Born in Asia Minor in the fourth century, Saint Nicholas lived in Myra in modern-day Turkey. After a pilgrimage to Egypt and Palestine, he returned home to become Bishop of Myra and in the present work is depicted with a cloak, miter and crozier. Also included in this painting are references to his miracles. The gold balls resting on the book allude to the purses of gold he gave three destitute sisters as dowries. Behind him is a ship, evoking the apocryphal thirteenth-century account in the Golden Legend which states that sailors miraculously survived perilous weather conditions after they prayed to St. Nicholas. He calmed the storm, eventually becoming the patron saint of mariners. After his death, his remains were transferred to Bari, Italy.