A Modern Day Santa While the modern visage of “Santa Claus” is attributed to the cartoonist Thomas Nast (see below), the historical Saint Nicholas, or Nikolaos the Wonderworker, was an early Christian Bishop of Myra (modern day Demre, Turkey).
Saint Nicholas of Myra Saves Three Innocents from Death (below, oil painting by Ilya Repin, 1888, State Russian Museum). Ilya Yefimovich Repin, b. 5 August 1844 – d. 29 September 1930) was a Russian realist painter. He was the most renowned Russian artist of the 19th century, when his position in the world of art was comparable to that of Leo Tolstoy in literature.