Saint Thomas

Saint Thomas 1st Century

©EPV/Didier Saulnier

Apostle 1st Century

The decision to have monumental sculpted decoration on the balustrade and the pediment of the Royal Chapel was taken in around 1705. The carefully chosen subject matter of the decoration mixes allegory with great figures of Christianity. The four evangelists rub shoulders with the twelve apostles, the four Fathers of the Latin Church, the four Fathers of the Greek Church and six allegories of Christian virtue. 

Philippe Magnier (1648-1715)

Date sculpted 

2.84 metres, including plinth

Tonnerre stone

Restoration of the Royal Chapel

Saint Thomas

Associated with doubt after refusing to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus, the apostle Saint Thomas has been sculpted with the features of a young man with a beard and long hair. Dressed in a long tunic and large cloak fastened in drapes on his left shoulder, he is holding a staff in his right hand and looking to the East.

According to legendary tradition, he evangelised Syria and then travelled to India. He was invited to construct a palace by King Gondophorus, but Saint Thomas preferred to build a “heavenly palace” and distributed the money he had received to the poor. He is the patron saint of judges and architects because of his building work in India.


the sculptor Philippe Magnier

Son of the sculptor Laurent Magnier, under whom he also trained, Philippe Magnier was received at the Royal Academy in 1680. In 1704 he became a professor and then treasurer, a position he held until the end of his life. The sculptor’s works, which follow the Academy’s criteria in style, can be found at Versailles in the gardens (the Term of Ulysses, the statue of Flora for the Grove of the Domes) and the Chapel, as well as at the Invalides where he was the author of the ornamentation of the dome under the direction of Coysevox between 1690 and 1699. For the interior of the Palace of Versailles, the sculptor made several bas-reliefs adorning pillars and spandrels. He was also the author of the stucco decoration for the entire ceiling of the upper chamber of the Chapel, as well as several decorative cornices and masks for Versailles and Trianon.


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