Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Bite 151: Antonio & Piero del Pollaiuolo - Tobias and the Angel, c. 1469

Tobias and the Angel, c. 1469
Tobias and the Archangel Raphael are depicted as finely-garbed travellers, a vast landscape stretching behind them. The story is taken from the early Biblical Book of Tobit, written around 100 BC, in which the angel is sent to protect Tobias, the son of the blind Tobit on his trip with his dog to a distant city to collect a sum of money.

After a perilous journey - in which they sieze a fish which attacks them and save a young girl named Sarah from a demon who has killed seven men whom she wished to marry - they return home, with Sarah as Tobias' wife, money in hand, and heal Tobit of his blindness. In a narrative popular among wealthy Florentines the young Tobias is rewarded for his courage and piety and becomes a man.  

Painting as prayer, the work was likely commissioned by a family on the release of their son to travel abroad, wishing him a safe journey and protection from a guardian angel.