Friday, August 05, 2011

Tobias and the Angel

Filippino Lippi (painter) Italian, 1457 - 1504. Tobias and the Angel, c. 1475/1480 oil and tempera (?) on panel

I suspect my fascination with this story was inspired by Salley Vickers book Miss Garnett's Angel which artfully combined a modern story in the glorious setting of Venice, with this tale from the Apochrypha - that is, books which "Wickedpedia" (I meant that) say are useful but 'not divinely inspired'. And there I was thinking apochryphal meant a nice story but not necessarily true. This painting is in the National Gallery in Washington, and I quote from their website:

"This painting is based on the Book of Tobit which tells the story of Tobit of Nenevah. Tobit is described as a man of good faith who suffers from blindness and poverty. He sent his son, Tobias, to a distant city to collect money he had deposited there, and hired a companion to accompany the youth. The companion was actually the archangel Raphael in disguise. Their journey was successful: not only was the money recovered, but medicine made from a monstrous fish Tobias encounters along the way cures Tobit's blindness" 

There is more to the story than this. Tobias find a wife, Sarah and it all ends up rather well. The dog is always there, by the way. And the fish always features but is varying sizes. It is rather tiny in Tobias's hand in this one.

Many wonderful images have been made of this story, and it is thought this might have been because young sons of merchants were being sent out into the big bad world to do business.

So, one day I am going to find as many images of the story as I can and make a little album, or even a book of them. Then I have to move on to St Jerome. Once the gravity of my course is over I shall be free to explore whatever I like. What a wonderful thought.

3 comments:

theotheralig said...

Tobias and the Angel was a Take One Picture work for school children a couple of years ago. We collected the different versions. My seven year olds adored the angel, they made them out of plasticine and made their own pictures. We used a computer program on the white board which had the option of virtual metallic paints and there were truly gorgeous angels created.

Daydream Believer said...

Ah, so it's not just me. It has such a strong appeal on lots of levels. Great that children became aware of it and were creative themselves. The other stories in pictures, apart from St Jerome and the lion (now that would be a good one for children!) is The Annunciation. So many different versions displaying such a wide range of reactions from resignation, bewilderment, joy, passivity, nothing... I like that you don't have to be a believer to appreciate depictions of the message.
Have a good day, lovely lady!

Mark said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. Tobias and the angel was theme of a painter I knew in Pembrokeshire, she would reinvent the picture with images of her grandchildren, even her pets.

I liked your post on journal writing too.