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Studies of Rembrandt


The Angel Leaves Tobit and his Family

Etching, 1641

Second state of four.

Signed and dated:  Rembrandt f. 1641

Reference:  Bartsch 43; Hind 185; Münz 179; Boon 169


“And they were both troubled, and fell upon their faces; for they were afraid.  And he said to them, ‘Be not afraid, ye shall have peace… And now give God thanks: because I ascend to him that sent me…  And they rose up and saw him no more.” 

-- Tobit 12:16-21

Tobit and his son Tobias in the process of falling on their faces give thanks for the miracle sight performed on Tobit by the departing Angel Raphael.  Tobit was blinded by a bird and his faithful son traveled with a ‘companion’ to hunt for the ‘cure.’  The traveling companion who turned out to be an Angel directed Tobit to retrieve the bile or gall from a fish caught by the two and apply Tobit’s blind or film covered eye. Tobit is cured of his blindness.

This etching dramatically illustrates an emotional and passionate moment as the Angel flies toward Heaven in a stream of dazzling light.  He is already partially disappeared from view.  Below the Angel is a handler with a pack mule and an opened case filled with gifts which was to be given to Tobias’ traveling companion (the Angel Raphael).  One of the objects to be given lays on the floor to the left of the casket. The surprised Anna in panic drops her walking stick just as in Rembrandt’s 1637 artist’s panel painting in the Louvre it is illustrated in the process of falling.  Tobias’ family home is illustrated as the backdrop to this marvelous event with members of the household form a visual triangle filling the well composed image just behind the brilliant light and smoke left by the departing Angel. 

The Holy Family

Oil on Canvas, 1635

Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia


Rembrandt's rendition of the Holy Family being watched over by Angels.  Mary reads to the Christ child as Joseph works in his shop in the background.



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