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Dish with Tobias and the Angel

Urbino, c. 1550

27.8cm (diameter)

tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica)

According to the Book of Tobit (among the Apocrypha), Tobias was led by the archangel Raphael, in disguise, to collect money due to his father Tobit. When they reached the Tigris, a large fish attacked Tobias, whereupon the angel commanded him to catch the fish and eat it, but reserve the heart, liver, and gall. When the two reached Ecbatana, Raphael urged Tobias to wed Sarah. In the bridal chamber that evening Tobias, instructed again by the angel, burned the heart and liver, thus protecting him from the fate of Sarah’s first seven husbands, who were all killed on their wedding night by demons. The gall of the fish was later used by Raphael to restore the sight of Tobit.

Dr Johanna Lessmann (2002) has suggested to us that this is by the same painter as a dish in the Louvre (Giacomotti 1974, no. 910).

Lent from the Barlow Collection.  LI206.6

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