Bartholomew the Apostle

The statue

Bartholomew raises a large-bladed knife before himself, staring at it gloomily. The knife alludes to him being executed by the Persian King Astyages by having the skin torn off his body. Thorvaldsen has chosen merely to display the knife, but other artists have depicted him with the torn skin over his arm.

The story

Bartholomew is also identified as Nathaniel in The Gospels. According to the legends, he travelled to India, but also did missionary work in Arabia, Mesopotamia and Armenia, where he was executed.

The facts

The sculpture was completed in 1823 by Carlesi from Thorvaldsen’s drawing. Displayed in marble in 1838.