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Little Witchingham, Scenes from the Passion Cycle, Page 3

(This Page) Incredulity of Thomas           Page 2 (Entombment to Mary Magdalene)

Photo:T.Marshall Incredulity of Thomas, Little Witchingham [96KB]
In a rare surviving example of this scene St. Thomas kneels at the left, in front of a tree painted in the background. Unlike the other trees painted in this Cycle, this one is flourishing, with a crown of leaves issuing from the trunk and no bare branches below.

The Bible account, narrated only in John, of Christ’s appearance to the Apostles when ‘doubting’ Thomas was present [John 20:24-28], seems to imply (“the doors being shut”) that this event took place indoors. Also, according to the Bible, Christ’s words to Thomas in John 20:27 were enough to compel belief, and there is no account of any actual touching. But the painter has shown Christ guiding Thomas’s hand to the wound in his side, and the kneeling figure seems to be a bearded man, clinching the identification, I think. Thomas is holding something - one possibility is a book, since apocryphal writings, including an Acts of Thomas, a Gospel of Thomas and an Infancy Gospel of Thomas were all confidently attributed to him in the Medieval period.

This very fine and very rare post-Resurrection appearance is the final one in the Passion Cycle, but, as can be seen in the photograph on the first page, there are other paintings here, including three (remaining out of four) very fine roundels with Evangelist Symbols (forthcoming).

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Page 2 (Entombment to Mary Magdalene)

Website for St Faith’s church

18/12/00

Anne Marshall 2000