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Giovanni Battista Bertucci the Elder, The Incredulity of Saint Thomas with a Donor

Key facts
Full title The Incredulity of Saint Thomas with a Donor from the Calderoni Family
Artist Giovanni Battista Bertucci the Elder
Artist dates active 1495; died 1516
Date made about 1510-12
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 103.5 × 166.4 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Miss Sarah Solly, 1879
Inventory number NG1051
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Incredulity of Saint Thomas with a Donor
Giovanni Battista Bertucci the Elder

Saint Thomas, who doubted that Christ had risen from the dead, raises his finger to touch the spear wound in Christ’s side, an episode related in the Gospel of John (20: 20–29). Saint Thomas’s finger, the kneeling donor’s gaze and the parallel lines of the paving all point to Christ’s wound.

The Franciscan friar Saint Anthony of Padua presents the donor – the person who paid for the painting – to Christ. He is probably Gabriele Calderoni, an eminent lawyer from Faenza, or possibly his father Gaspare. The Incredulity of Saint Thomas was of particular interest to the legal profession since it concerned the nature of proof, the desire for truth and the virtue of mercy.

The altarpiece was made for the chapel dedicated to Saint Anthony in the church of S. Francesco in Faenza. The painting was once part of a larger ensemble including a picture showing the Virgin accepting her destiny as mother of Christ, as announced by the Angel Gabriel, the name saint of Gabriele Calderoni.

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