Saints Andrew and Thomas

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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Gian Lorenzo Bernini was one of the most successful sculptors and architects of seventeenth-century Rome. This image of Saints Andrew and Thomas is an early work and one of the few paintings he made. Saint Andrew, a fisherman, is identified by the fish and the book (probably a reference to the Acts of Andrew, an apocryphal text written by him). Saint Thomas, a carpenter, is identified by the set square clasped in his right hand. The two saints, both apostles, were friends and contemporaries, but Bernini was not trying to depict a particular discussion that they were known to have had. Instead he has created a contrast between age and youth, teacher and student. Andrew, balding and grey-haired, points to a passage in his book and turns to explain it to the youthful, animated Thomas, who looks on intensely as understanding begins to dawn on his face.

The National Gallery, London



Saints Andrew and Thomas


before 1627


Oil on canvas


H 61.5 x W 78.1 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bought, 1967

Work type



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The National Gallery, London

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