Giovanni Biliverti

Tobias's Farewell to the Angel

Tobias's Farewell to the Angel
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Giovanni Biliverti
Painting, Oil on canvas, 188.5x144.5 cm
Origin: Italy, First quarter of the 17th century

The subject comes from the Book of Tobit , one of the Apocryphal books in the Old Testament, and shows the final scene in the story of how Tobit, a blind old man, was healed by the gall of a fish. This fish had been caught by his son Tobias on the orders of the Archangel Raphael. But Raphael presented himself to Tobit's family as a simple traveller, and the old man wished to thank him in the fullness of his joy at the return of his sight. The angel refused all the offered treasures and revealed his identity.

In Biliverti's painting Tobias restrains the angel, pulling at the edge of his cloak, and begs him to take the treasures which they have taken out of a round bronze vessel. Full of colour, this large canvas reveals the artist's skill at painting texture - the fabrics, fur and particularly the heavy gold chain with its large pearls.

Personage: Tobias
Source of entry: Collection of Empress Josephine, Malmaison, 1814
School: Florence
Theme: The Bible and Christianity
Exibition: Italian Art: 13th - 18th centuries

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