Thomas the Apostle

Oil on panel
Second half of the 15th century
116 x 49 cm
Private collection, Barcelona

Diego de la Cruz was one of the few artists of renowned name among the representatives of the Hispanic-Flemish painting of Burgos. Although he was neighbour of this city, he is supposed to have a Flemish origin due to the knowledge of Nordic painting that is perceived in his works, especially due to the influence of Rogier van der Weyden. In the painting of altarpieces he achieved maximum plausibility in every image and detail, through colour and the use of various plastic procedures, achieving an effect of sculpture-painting of rich effects. When his name was known, he was considered a sculptor when he collaborated with Gil de Siloé in the painting and gilding of some of his carved altarpieces.

Saint Thomas is presumed to be Jewish and was born in Galilee. He is often remembered for his disbelief. He affirmed that he would not believe in Jesus resurrection until he could see the sign of the nails in his hands and put his hand into Christ’s side. This behaviour may lead us to think that he was a rebel, however, after Jesus manifestation he assumed his mission more vigorously than before. It is presumed that the last period of his life was spent preaching in India, where he was martyred.