56. Battista d’Angolo, called Battista del Moro

Verona circa 1514 – circa 1573/75 Venice

Saint Nicholas of Bari Saving three Innocent Men from Execution

This highly finished drawing was in all likelihood executed in preparation for one of the many decorative schemes carried out by the painter and engraver Battista del Moro for churches in Verona. Here he depicts St Nicholas lunging forward to snatch the executioner’s sword, thus saving one of the three innocent officers. Flanked by two tall figures in the foreground, the drama plays out in front of a huge crowd whose density contrasts with the openness of the landscape which unfolds in the background. The sheet illustrates the agile, elegant graphic style of this draughtsman who, in spite of the mass of onlookers and the lack of real depth, has managed to lend his composition genuine intensity.