The focus is on Saint Thomas's right hand, firmly guided by Christ's, as the insecure skeptic carefully pokes at the wound with his index finger. Tellingly, the hands of the other two apostles are hidden, though their curiosity is undisguised and hardly less restrained than Thomas's.
This particular scene has been popularly recreated in art from the 6th century through traditional extension to Caravaggio; it has since become a symbol of the conflict between Protestant and Catholic art, as both traditions have differing views on its value in teaching blind faith.
Both Rembrandt and Rubens also painted this particular episode in the 17th century. Like many of Caravaggio's paintings, The Incredulity of Saint Thomas plunges into theatrical darkness, bringing the central figures of Jesus and his apostles to life as if illuminated on a stage. The absence of the usual halo around Jesus' head is intended to emphasize Christ's corporeal nature on earth. This painting, unlike some of Caravaggio's works, survived World War II when it was in the Prussian royal collection.
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