The painting is part of a series of Apostles and represents either Saint Thomas or Saint Matthias, both of whose attribute is a spear. Several other Apostles from the series are known. The gritty realism of the hand and dirty nails is typical of the work of Ribera.

Apostle series were common in Europe from the sixteenth century, and series were painted by El Greco, Rubens and Van Dyck. A complete Apostle series by Ribera dating from the 1630s is in the Prado, Madrid.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1591 - 1652
Full title
An Apostle
Date made
about 1615-19
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
62 x 49.5 cm
Acquisition credit
Presented anonymously, 1999
Inventory number
NG6577
Location in Gallery