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Tobias and the Angel

Gerritt Willemsz. Horst (c.1612 - 1652)

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

1630 - 1640

Materials

Oil on canvas

Measurements

1105 x 851 (43 1/2 x 33 1/2 in)

Place of origin

Holland

Order this image

Collection

Tyntesfield, North Somerset

NT 21101

Caption

As told in the biblical apochryphal Book of Tobit, Tobias goes on a journey from Nineveh to Media, to collect money at the behest of his blind father who was fearful of his own imminent death. He is accompanied by the archangel Raphael (who, according to the story, did not actually reveal himself as such until the end of the journey). He catches a fish in the River Tigris whose entrails cure his future wife’s madness as well as Tobit’s blindness. The apochryphal books were included in the Dutch state bible, translated and published in 1637, and depictions of scenes from them and the Old Testament stories gained in popularity in the Netherlands at that time. Believed to have once been owned by Sir Joshua Reynolds, this painting was labelled Rembrandt at the British Institution exhibition of 1839 when it was owned by Lord Northwick but is now thought to be by one of his followers.

Summary

Oil painting on canvas, Tobias and the Angel by Gerritt Willemsz. Horst (c.1612 - 1652), or Willem Drost (1633-1659), 1630-40. The angel, wearing white and lit by an unknown source (heavenly) stands on the right whilst holding out his left hand to Tobias, seated on the left and who lifts up his right hand to his face in fear or to shadow it and turns away from the angel towards his right. As told in the apochryphal Book of Tobit, Tobias goes on a journey from Nineveh to Media, to collect money at the behest of his blind father who was fearful of his own imminent death. He is accompanied by the archangel Raphael (who, according to the story, did not actually reveal himself as such until the end of the journey). He catches a fish in the River Tigris whose entrails or gall cure his future wife’s madness as well as his father Tobit’s blindness - which can be seen in a painting also attributed to Horst at the Museum Catharinjneconvent, Utrecht (RMCC s130). Labelled Rembrandt when exhibited at the British Institution in 1839 (18). William paid £184 for it in 1859.

Provenance

Jacques de Roore (1686 - 1747) sale, Amsterdam, 4th September 1747, lot 109; possibly Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723 - 1792); Christie's, 14th March 1795, 2nd day, lot 66 (as Rembrandt) (12 gns to Smith); with T. Robit, London; with Michael Bryan (1757 - 1821) or possibly John Smith, by whom offered for sale by private contract, London, 6th November 1801 - 31 May 1802, lot 137 (presumably to Hibbert); George Hibbert (1757 - 1837); Christie's, 13 June 1829, lot 20 (as Mola) (20 gns to Northwick); Phillips, Lord Northwick (1769-1859), Thirlestane House, Cheltenham; sale 26 July 1859 (4th day), lot 1507 (£184 to William Gibbs) and thence by descent; purchased by the National Trust from the estate of the late George Richard Lawley Gibbs, 2nd Baron Wraxall (1928 – 2001) with the assistance of the NHMF, Art Fund and donations from members and supporters in 2002

Credit line

Tyntesfield, The Gibbs Collection (National Trust)

Makers and roles

Gerritt Willemsz. Horst (c.1612 - 1652) , artist previously catalogued as attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 – Amsterdam 1669), artist

Exhibition history

British Institution, External Locations, 1839, no.18

References

Smith 1829-42 John Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters, 8 vols and supplement, London, 1829-42, 1836, VII, p. 18, no. 47

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