Good Thief is painted on Jesus his right hand
Year mention: 1617
Crucifixion ; Jesus Christ ; The good thief
Not corresponding to Scriptures
Visual tradition/Artistic model vs. written Tradition/History

The good thief has to be placed at the right of Christ

Molanus, Johannes
Lucas van Leyden - Golgotha, 1517
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam,

In book 2, chapter 19, Molanus discusses how one should deal with artworks depicting matters from unestablished textual traditions. Foremost is that no false stories are depicted, but in the case of artworks based on uncertain stories, propriety and probability should prevail in the judgement and above all the common opinion of the whole Church.
The fourth example of such an iconographic tradition surrounded by uncertainty in the Scriptures is on which side of Christ the good thief has to be placed. However, this question is not answered in any of the Scriptures, according to Molanus the good thief has to be placed at Christ’s right hand.

“Which of the two thieves was crucified at the right hand of Christ is not shown in any of the Gospels; however, in the painting, the good or repentant thief is placed at his right hand.”

“Uter latronum a dextris Christi fuerit crucifixus, nullus Evangelistarum expressit, in picturis tamen banus sue poenitens latto dextero loco collocatur. “

Quoted Authorities

Matthew 27, 38 Luke 23, 33.

Cross, Crucifixion, good thief, Jesus

Date mention

Historical Location

Iconclass Number

Molanus, De historia sanctarum imaginum et picturarum (1617), book 2, ch. 19, 82

 Molanus 1996, 177.

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