GUARDI, Gianantonio
(b. 1699, Wien, d. 1760, Venezia)

The Angel Appears to Tobias

c. 1750
Oil on canvas
Chiesa dell'Angelo Raffaele, Venice

The story of Tobias is recounted in the Book of Tobit. Tobias was sent by his father Tobit to Media to recover a sum of money he had hidden there earlier. Archangel Raphael, sent by God to help Tobit and his family, asked Tobit (who did not recognize the angel) whether he may escort his son on his journey and, in company with Tobias' faithful hound, they departed together. They reached the Tigris, where Tobias was attacked by a gigantic fish. The archangel ordered him to capture it and had him remove and conserve its gall, heart and liver. The innards proved to be a medicine which he can use to restore his father's sight.

The hovering angel is derived from a painting by Sebastiano Ricci in San Stae, Venice. Gianantonio Guardi often borrowed poses or motifs from other painters, recasting them in his own vivid manner.