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The Incredulity of Saint Thomas
Stom, Matthias (also called Stomer)
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Stom, Matthias (also called Stomer)

Amersfoort (Netherlands), 1600 - Sicily (Italy), 1650

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The Incredulity of Saint Thomas

1641 - 1649. Oil on canvas.
Room 076

The subject of this painting is taken from the Gospels (John 20:24–28). The scene depicts the moment when Thomas, seeking proof of the Resurrection, places his fingers in the wound in Christ’s right side. This work has been ascribed to Matthias Stom’s Sicilian period, when he combined certain northern European stylistic qualities -for example, the accurate folds of the robes and the expressiveness of the hands- with characteristics of Neapolitan painters of the Seicento. Indeed, the figure types, with their accentuated coarseness, yellow flesh tones, naturalistic modelling of bodies and faces, which are painted with a heavily loaded brush, and the marked contrasts of darkness and light attest to Stom’s assimilation of the style of the followers of Ribera. Stom may have met Ribera and studied his work when in Naples.

Although the iconography of this scene can be traced back to Caravaggio’s Doubting Thomas, 1602-03 (Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam, Germany), Stom appears to have based his composition on two slightly later paintings of this subject. First, he follows Hendrick ter Brugghen’s Doubting Thomas, c.1621-23 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), which inverts Caravaggio’s composition to position Saint Thomas on Christ’s right side, preventing the Apostle from stretching his arm across Jesus’s body. But Stom mainly based his work on Rubens’s Incredulity of Saint Thomas, 1613-15 (Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp), commissioned by the burgomaster Nicolaas Rockox between 1613 and 1615 for the Immaculata Chapel, sponsored by Rockox in the church of Antwerp’s Minorite Recollects, in 1619-20. In Stom’s painting the naked torso of Christ is indisputably the main focus of attention, as it is in Rubens’s, but not in either Caravaggio’s or ter Brugghen’s compositions.

As in Rubens’s work, this prominence is underscored by the gesture of Christ opening his arms to allow full view of his torso, while his body leans slightly backwards, away from the group of Apostles to his side. Also, the powerful lateral lighting transforms the torso into a source of light, which in turn illuminates the scene. This transformation of Christ may relate both to his state as a luminous resurrected body -which would explain why neither the nail holes in his hands nor the wounds from the crown of thorns on his forehead are shown- and to the new meaning of the Corpus Christi in Counter-Reformation doctrine.

The inventory of the paintings saved from the fire at the Alcázar Palace, Madrid, in 1734 registers this painting as a copy of an original by Guercino, whereas the 1772 inventory of the Royal Palace in Madrid describes it as an original by Gerard van Honthorst. This attribution was retained in the Museo del Prado’s catalogues until 1963, when it was reattributed to Hendrick ter Brugghen (1588-1629). Finally, in the 1958 catalogue it is recorded as a work by Matthias Stom, an attribution proposed many years before by Arthur von Schneider and ever since unanimously accepted.

In the Baron Scotti collection in Bergamo there is one other version of this subject by Stom, which is also dated to the painter’s Sicilian period.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Mathias Stom 'The incredulity of Saint Thomas'. En: Italian masterpieces from Spain's royal court, Museo del Prado, National Gallery of Victoria Thames & Hudson, 2014, p.144


Technical data

Related artworks

Museo del Prado, vista de una de las salas
Albumen on photographic paper, 1915 - 1930
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Inventory number
Stom, Matthias (also called Stomer)
The Incredulity of Saint Thomas
1641 - 1649
Height: 125 cm; Width: 99 cm
Royal Collection (Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, sala de capellanes, 1772, nº 270; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, antecámara de las señoras infantas-pieza encarnada a la derecha, 1794, nº 42; Palacio Real, Madrid, cuarto del infante don Francisco-segunda pieza, 1814-1818, s.n.).

Bibliography +

Inventario de las Pinturas del Museo Hecho a la Muerte del Rey, Invetarios Reales en 12 volúmenes y un índice (fotocopias), Madrid, 1834, pp. 68.

Schneider, Arthur von, Neue Zuschreibungen an Matthias Stomer, Oud Holland, 1924, pp. 225-230.

Pauwels, H., De schilder Matthias Stomer, Gentse bijdragen tot de kunstgeschiedenis, 1953, pp. 139-143.

Schneider, Arthur Von, Caravaggio Und Die Niederlander, N.V.Boefhandel en Antiquariaat, Amsterdam, 1967, pp. 116-123, 139.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura italiana del siglo XVII: exposición conmemorativa del ciento cincuenta aniversario de la fundación del Museo del Prado, Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, Madrid, 1970.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Valdivieso, Enrique, Pintura Holandesa del siglo XVII en españa, Universidad, Valladolid, 1973.

Nicolson, Benedict, Stomer Brought Up-to-date, The Burlington magazine, 1977, pp. 230-245.

Nicolson, Benedict, The international Caravaggesque movement : lists of pictures..., Phaidon, Oxford, 1979, pp. 96.

Wright, Christopher, Dutch and Flemish Paintings of the Seventeenth Century, Frederick Warne, Londres, 1981, pp. 186.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 658.

Nicolson, Benedict, Caravaggism in Europe, Umberto Allemandi & C., Turín, 1989, pp. nº1545.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

Buendía, José Rogelio, El Prado. Colecciones de Pintura, Lunwerg Editores, Madrid, 1994, pp. 448.

The Heart of Spain: A Rare Exhibition of Spain's Religious, Alexandria Museum of Art, Lousiana, 2003, pp. 95.

De Tiziano a Goya. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado., Tokio - Osaka, 2006, pp. nº59.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2009, pp. 136-138.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Mathias Stom 'The incredulity of Saint Thomas', En: Italian masterpieces from Spain's royal court, Museo del Prado, National Gallery of Victoria Thames & Hudson, 2014, pp. 144.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1379.
Honthrs (Gerardo, llamado Gerardo dellanotte) / 1379. La incredulidad de santo Tomas. / El santo esta poniendo el dedo en la llaga de Jesús. / Se ven asi mismo en el cuadro otros dos apóstoles. / Alto 4 pies, 5 pulg, 6 lin; ancho 3 pies, 6 pulg, 6 lin.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1873-1907. Núm. 1401.
1401.-(1379-M.)- La incredulidad de Santo Tomás.-Está el Apóstol tocando con su dedo la llaga del costado de Cristo.-Medias figuras de tamaño natural. / Alto 1,25; ancho 0,99.-L.

Inv. Carlos III, Palacio Nuevo, 1772. Núm. 270.
Sala de Capellanes [...] {13252} 270 / Otro [quadro] de Cristo despues de resucitado y santo Tomás quando le reconoce la llaga de vara y media de alto y vara y quarta de ancho original

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Palacio Nuevo, 1794. Núm. 42.
Antecamara de las Sªs. Ynfantas [...] Pieza encarnada á la Derecha [...] {459} 42 / Vara y media de alto y vara y quarta de ancho: Santo Tomas quando mete los dedos en la llaga de Cristo Gerardo de la noche ... 5000

Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, 1834. Núm. 420.
SALÓN 2º / ESCUELA FLAMENCA / Cuatro cientos veinte. Aparicion de Jesús resucitado a Santo Tomás / Gerardo Honthorst / Lº / 12.300

Inv. Fernando VII, Palacio Nuevo, 1814-1818. Núm. s. n..
Quarto del Infante Don Francisco [...] Segunda pieza [...] {21908} Igual [dos varas menos tercia alto, vara y quarta ancho], Santo Tomas que mete los dedos por la llaga del costado de Nuestro Señor = Geraldo de la Noche

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in red color. Front, lower left corner

G. O
Inscribed with chalk. Back

Exhibitions +

Velázquez, Rembrandt, Vermeer. Parallel visions
25.06.2019 - 29.09.2019

Italian Masterpieces from Spain's Royal Court. Museo Nacional del Prado
16.05.2014 - 31.08.2014

Dutch Painters at the Prado
03.12.2009 - 11.04.2010

10.02.2009 - 17.05.2009

De Tiziano a Goya. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado
14.07.2006 - 15.10.2006

De Tiziano a Goya. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado
24.03.2006 - 02.07.2006

El corazón de España. Arte y símbolo religioso - The Heart of Spain
Alexandria LA
03.09.2003 - 30.11.2003

Location +

Room 076 (On Display)

Update date: 09-04-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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