The statue

Thomas is supporting his head with one hand and carrying a square over his shoulder. The square, which is a tool used by craftsmen to ensure proper building, references Thomas as the doubter, who only dared to believe what he was able to measure – meaning prove.

The story

Thomas (which means “twin”) did not believe that Jesus had risen from the tomb. When the other apostles told him that they had seen the resurrected Jesus, he replied: “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe”. When they were gathered later on, Jesus suddenly appeared and said to Thomas: “put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”.

Several texts attributed to Thomas and the legend says that he founded the Christian church in India. He was called there as an engineer to build a palace for the Indian king, but instead he used the king’s money to help the poor, who were baptised in huge numbers. Thomas said that thereby the king had earned a grand palace in Heaven, but that did not sit well with the king. Thomas was stoned to death and stabbed by a lance.

The facts

The statue was sculpted in the end of 1821 by Giuseppe Tenerani according to Thorvaldsen’s sketch made the same year. The statue was put up in marble in 1838.