Saint Nicholas, detail, Calming the Storm.
"Никола Зарайский с житием". Клеймо 12. Утешение бури
Date: сер. 16 в.
Author: unknown master, Velikiy Novgorod
Note: Evidently, St. Nicholas was a bishop in Asia Minor in the Fourth Century. During the Middle ages, a "towering" folk legend evolved which credited him with things like saving sailors in distress, and providing dowries for maidens of marriageable age, etc. It wasn't until later, during the 17ty century, that the Dutch changed the name even more towards Santa Claus, (Sint Klis, then to Santa Claus), and he grew into his present role. This may be a piece that shows some of the earlier thoughts on St. Nicholas. An interesting History.