mosaic, right side of
the St Thomas altar
St Maria Dominica
left side of the
St Thomas Altar
From: 'St. Peter's Basilica - A Virtual Tour'
Over the altar on the right is the "Incredulity of St. Thomas" by V. Camuccini,
which replaces an earlier work on the same subject by Passignano. This
work has a correct but rather cold neoclassical conception. At the time,
Passignano was director of the Mosaic Studio, and was one of the most
coherent Roman executors of David's work, but with more convincing results
in historical subjects.
'The Altars and
Altarpieces of New St. Peter's' by Louise Rice, ©1997, Cambridge
The chapel of St. Thomas occupies the right niche in the south transept.
The decoration of the walls and vault dates from the time of Clement VIII,
who planned to dedicate the chapel in honor of St. John the Evangelist.
Under Paul V, the body of St. Boniface IV was brought here from its tomb-altar
in the old church. Thereafter, for a number of years, the chapel was officially
referred to as the chapel of St. Boniface. The earliest documentary reference
to the altar of St. Thomas is dated January 30, 1621.
The altar of St.
Thomas was among the first altars in St. Peter's to be provided with an
altarpiece during the pontificate of Urban VIII. The commission went to
Domenico Passignano.... His altarpiece remained in place until around
1822, when it was replaced by a mosaic of the same subject, based on a
design by Vincenzo Camuccini (1771-1844)
The story of the
Doubting Thomas (John 20:24-29) was always very popular. Molanus advocated
that all images of the apostle should illustrate this episode, and cited
as his authority Pope Gregory the Great, who wrote: "The lack of
faith of Thomas encourages us to faith more than does the faith of the
St Thomas altar
in the Left Transept
St Thomas the
Apostle altar area