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Landscape with Tobias and the Angel

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Landscape with Tobias and the Angel

circa 1616-1617
17th century
31 cm x 40.5 cm (12 3/16 in. x 15 15/16 in.)

Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) (Cento, Italy, 1591 - 1666, Bologna, Italy) Primary

Object Type: painting
Artist Nationality: Europe, Italian
Medium and Support: Oil on copper
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
Accession Number: 2017.1168

Archangel Raphael points to a great fish located at the painting’s bottom edge and instructs a surprised, bathing Tobias to seize it. Tobias, the son of the title character in the Book of Tobit, would later use the fish’s entrails to cure the blindness of his father and to dispel a demon tormenting his future wife, Sara.

Guercino was a leading painter in the Bolognese school of the seventeenth century. He was known for his ability to communicate emotion through human gesture and expression. His talent for depicting contrasts in light also appears in the painting’s dark landscape lit by a setting sun, which echoes Tobias’ story of faith and revelation. This rare work is likely Guercino’s only landscape painting on copper to incorporate a religious narrative.

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