TillbakaThe Community

St Nicholas

Shrine of polychrome broadleaf wood, dedicated to St Nicholas. Made in Haaken Gulleson’s workshop during the first quarter of the 16th century. The dorsal is signed.

This shrine, containing a standing figure of St Nicholas, is tall and relatively narrow. It has two side panels with four portrait paintings in profile on the insides. The shrine is richly painted, with a deep-blue background for the corpus. A golden halo has been painted on this background, with the inscription “Sancte Nicolaus” and stars surrounding the figure. The saint stands in a posture of humility. His chasuble is gold and white, matching the mitre on his head. On his chasuble is a pallium, which stands out in black with golden lilies. The black is not the original colour but a darkened shade of red or green. On his hands we see white gloves and carved, painted rings. His left hand formerly held a crozier. His right is raised in benediction.

The side panels are painted with portraits of saints and martyrs. The two uppermost are bishops, one of whom carries three stones, which probably implies that he was martyred. These two are not easy to identify today, however, because one of them lacks an identifying attribute and the other bishop’s attribute – the stones – is commonplace. The lower figure on St Nicholas’s left represents St Lawrence, as witness the attributes – book and gridiron, added to which, his name is inscribed in the picture. On St Nicholas’s right side we see St Stephen, with three stones and a book. There used to be an inscription of his name above the picture.

This shrine was made in Haaken Gulleson’s workshop and is one of six works signed by the painter. His signature, on the base of the shrine, reads “GULLES(ON)”. The name “HAAKEN”, probably, was once also included. Nicholas now appears in the guise of a medieval prelate with all the appurtenant insignia of episcopal dignity – mitre, pallium, gloves, ring and, beneath the alba, the episcopal slippers.