On the eve of the election of the archbishop of Myra in Lycia (Asia Minor) in the 4th century AD, it was revealed to one of the bishops that a young man called Nicholas had been divinely chosen. When Saint Nicholas presented himself at the cathedral the following day he was elected and immediately installed as archbishop. The story is told in The Golden Legend. Veronese shows the moment of Nicholas’s recognition – or subsequent consecration – with an angel above bringing his bishop’s stole, crozier and mitre. The saint humbly obeys.

This work was painted for the altar of Saint Nicholas in S. Benedetto Po, near Mantua, where it was probably installed in 1562.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1528 - 1588
Full title
The Consecration of Saint Nicholas
Date made
1562
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
286.5 x 175.3 cm
Acquisition credit
Presented by the Governors of the British Institution, 1826
Inventory number
NG26
Location in Gallery