VASARI, Giorgio
(b. 1511, Arezzo, d. 1574, Firenze)

Incredulity of St Thomas

Oil on panel
Santa Croce, Florence

In 1565 Cosimo I de' Medici initiated the redecoration of the Florentine church of Santa Croce and chose Giorgio Vasari as his architect. Owners of the private chapels were not allowed to determine the architectural forms of their chapel or to select the subject of the altarpieces that adorned them, the altarpieces were prescribed in Vasari's program. All are of narrative events, conventional Madonna and Child representations are completely absent. Vasari devised a program of Christ's Passion and post-Passion histories which provided a continuous narrative from one altar to the next.

The Incredulity of St Thomas was commissioned from Vasari by Tommaso and Francesco Guidacci for their chapel in the church. The painting shows Christ and St Thomas in the centre, framed by arches, with the subordinated figures focusing attention toward the narrative centre of the painting. Space is rationally constructed and ordered around a single-point perspective system.