The Incredulity of St Thomas Peter Paul Rubens Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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This is a rare triptych from Peter Paul Rubens that actually remains in good condition today. Several other three-piece creations of his have been broken up or damaged in the centuries that have passed since.

The triptych now resides in the Royal Museum for Fine Arts in Antwerp, rather than its original installation location, which perhaps helped to ensure its preservation. The artist created this set of panels around the years of 1613 and 1615. The overall project has been requested by Sir Nicolaas II Rockox and his wife Adriana Perez, which is why it is sometimes known as the Rockox Triptych. It was intended for a small church in Antwerp, and the outer panels depict the commissioning couple themselves which was common during the Baroque era as a means to establishing one's legacy through fine art. We are now sure about how much they paid for Rubens' services but it is likely to be in line with his other payments at around this time. He most likely worked solely on this set of paintings, because they were not overly complex and so the assistance of his team was not really necessary.

Nicolaas Rockox was planning his legacy when he contacted Rubens about this project. He chose a position for where he would be laid, as well as where his wife would likely follow in the years that followed. He was already close to the artist and so the decision on who to produce this set of paintings was probably a fairly easy one. The overall artwork is intended most of all to underline the couple's devotion and commitment to their faith. We see here within the central panel the apparition of Christ, leaving Thomas incredulous. He was previously the doubter who realised his error. Also within the scene is apostle Peter and also Paul. There is a theme also of forgiveness within this setting and a generally positive and forward thinking aspect.

The Incredulity of St Thomas is normally on display at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium. Some of the other highlights to be found within their collection include a stunning Self Portrait by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, The Intrigue by James Ensor, The Preacher Eleazar Swalmius by Rembrandt and also The Lamentation over the Dead Christ by Anthony van Dyck. The overall selection is focused at key local artists as well as a wider survey of European painters from more traditional art movements. Rubens himself is well represented here, with a number of his original artworks on display, and all in all, this is an excellent venue from which to learn more about the contributions of several highly prominent painters from around the time, and just after, Peter Paul Rubens. Belguim itself has a fine history within art, as well as the local surrounding regions, and so it is entirely appropriate that such a good collection of work would be located here in the city of Antwerp.

The Incredulity of St Thomas in Detail Peter Paul Rubens