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Jan Lievens: 'A Landscape with Tobias and the Angel'

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The story is told in the Book of Tobit (6: 1-3). Tobias was sent by his blind father Tobit to collect a debt. He was escorted by the Archangel Raphael and when a fish attacked him as the crossed the river Tigris, Raphael told the boy to kill it and remove the heart, the liver and gall, which could be used to restore his father's eyesight.

The picture belongs to a small group of painted landscapes showing the influence of Rubens and, more particularly, Brouwer; they can be attributed with some confidence to Lievens on the basis of comparison with the landscape in the background of Lievens's 'Self Portrait' in the National Gallery's Collection and a landscape in Berlin with a contemporary inscription (or signature) on the back. The panel bears the coat of arms of the City of Antwerp on the reverse. Lievens was in Antwerp from 1635-44, and the picture was probably painted during his last years there.

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