Saint Nicholas of Myra (traditionally 15 March 270 – 6 December 343), was an early Christian bishop of the ancient Greek city of Myra in Asia Minor during the time of the Roman Empire. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, and students in various cities and countries around Europe. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus ("Saint Nick") through Sinterklaas.
Very little is known about the historical Saint Nicholas. The earliest accounts of his life were written centuries after his death. He is said to have been born in Patara, Lycia in Asia Minor to wealthy Christian parents. In one of the earliest attested and most famous incidents from his life, he is said to have rescued three girls from being forced into prostitution by dropping a sack of gold coins through the window of their house each night for three nights so their father could pay a dowry for each of them. He was cast into prison during the persecution of Diocletian, but was released after the accession of Constantine. An early list makes him an attendee at the First Council of Nicaea in 325, but he is never mentioned in any writings by people who were actually at the council. Late, he was temporarily defrocked and imprisoned during the Council for slapping the heretic Arius. Another famous late legend tells how he resurrected three children who had been murdered and pickled in brine by a butcher planning to sell them as pork during a famine. More on Saint Nicholas
Jaroslav Čermák (1 September 1831 – 23 April 1878) was a Czech painter known primarily for his history paintings. Many of his paintings are in the collection of the National Gallery in Prague.
From 1847 to 1848, Čermák studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague as a pupil of Christian Ruben. It was Čermák's desire to be a history painter; as he felt that the training in Prague would be insufficient, he traveled to Antwerp, where he studied with Gustave Wappers and Louis Gallait. In 1852 he settled in Paris; however, he travelled widely through Europe and often returned to his homeland. He frequently visited Montenegro, and in 1862 he fought alongside local soldiers in their clashes with Ottoman troops at the battle of Cetinje. For his courage in battle he was awarded a medal by Nicholas I of Montenegro, whose guest he frequently was. In 1874 he designed and built his own house in Paris. More on Jaroslav Čermák