The present works are based upon the series of twelve sculpted apostles in the nave of St. John Lateran, Rome. Although Pope Innocent X had commissioned Borromini to restore the basilica in time for the Jubilee of 1650, the niches remained empty until 1703 when Pope Clement XI finally instructed the completion. A committee led by Carlo Fontana and Carlo Maratta were responsible for selecting the designs for the niches.
Camillo Rosconi, the most noted of those chosen, executed four of the apostles, of which three are amongst the present group; St. Andrew, St. Matthew and St. James the Greater. Francesco Moratti was responsible for the sculpture of St. Simon. The Genoese sculptor Angelo de Rossi received the commission for the figure of St. James the Less. St. Philip, cross in hand and standing on the dragon, was executed by Giuseppe Mazzuoli. The remaining two in the present group, of St. Thomas and St. Bartholomew, are after the sculptures by Piere Legros the Younger. Legros finished the figure of St. Bartholomew, depicted with a dagger and his flayed skin, by 1718, the year in which the decoration was completed.