Bernardo Strozzi

Healing of Tobit

Healing of Tobit
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Bernardo Strozzi
Painting, Oil on canvas, 158x223.5 cm
Origin: Italy, Circa 1635

Strozzi was a priest and port engineer in the Genoese Republic as well as being an excellent artist. The subject for The Healing of Tobit, perhaps the best of a number of paintings on the theme by this artist, comes from the Book of Tobit , one of the apocryphal books of the Old Testament. Strozzi shows the moment just before the miracle takes place: on the advice of the Archangel Raphael, the young Tobias is going to rub his blind father's eyes with gall from the miraculous fish which he had caught in the River Tigris.

The biblical story is treated as a genre scene, Strozzi paying careful attention to the portrayal of the different emotions of each character. Old Tobit sits in tense anticipation; his wife looks on with frightened hope; Tobias and the Angel are attentive and concentrated. Even the white dog looks on with interest.

The painting is unusually rich in colour and texture. Grey, dark-green, terracota and yellow are set off by sharp zigzags of white applied in thick, impasto strokes which not only accentuate the resonance of the colours but also create a sense of dynamism and disturbance in this outwardly balanced composition.

Personage: Tobit
Source of entry: Provenance: before 1774
School: Genoese
Theme: The Bible and Christianity

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