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Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio, Tobias and the Angel

Key facts
Full title Tobias and the Angel
Artist Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio
Artist dates about 1435 - 1488
Date made about 1470-5
Medium and support Tempera on wood
Dimensions 83.6 × 66 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1867
Inventory number NG781
Location Gallery D
Collection Main Collection
Tobias and the Angel
Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio

The blind old man Tobit, a merchant and devout Jew, sent his son, Tobias, on a long journey to collect a debt. God sent the Archangel Raphael – the winged figure on the left of the scene – to accompany Tobias and his dog.

Tobias carries a fish that he has gutted; Raphael holds its organs in a little box, explaining they could be used as ointment to cure blindness. The fish is painted like a minute still life, the scales reflecting the light like shining armour. It has been suggested that Verrocchio’s pupil Leonardo may have painted the fish and the dog.

Tobias and Raphael’s journey to Media was very popular in the late fifteenth century when devotion to the Archangel, known as Saint Raphael, was promoted by a number of confraternities dedicated to him. The story culminates with Tobias’s return home where he used the fish organs to cure his father.

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