Caravaggio: (b. 1571; d. 1610) The Incredulity of Saint Thomas ( c. 1601–1602)
“Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.”
It’s commonly held that Thomas didn’t accept the Risen Christ’s offer, that his empirical world-view was superseded by FAITH; and so, because of faith, he believed.
This wonderful painting by Caravaggio would suggest otherwise and that Thomas did, in fact, take up Christ’s invitation.
Is Christ almost FORCING Thomas to carry out his earlier declaration, “unless I… place my hand into his side, I will never believe”?
Look at the furrowed brow on Thomas’ forehead; Christ’s strong grip of his wrist- is there hesitation here? Does Christ have to force a hesitant Thomas when the latter is actually with him.? Is this Thomas effectively being told to “put up or shut up?”, given his earlier bravado?
Perhaps Caravaggio caught something of what the author of the Fourth Gospel really meant to convey, but what others over the centuries have misinterpreted.
Thomas is, after all, the Patron Saint of blind people!