St. Nicholas of Tolentino
Italian, ca. 1460–1535
St. Nicholas of Tolentino is one of eight saints Lorenzo Costa painted in the late 1400s. The graceful figures originally flanked a central devotional image on a monumental altarpiece, likely in or near Bologna, Italy. The saints are identifiable by their attributes and by their names, which are inscribed underneath them in a northern Italian dialect. Devotees used this information to find the saints who were most relevant to their personal needs.
St. Nicholas’s robes indicate that he is an Augustinian friar, while the book of scriptures refers to his work as a preacher. St. Nicholas is said to have had visions of the souls in purgatory and is known as their patron saint.