standing male angel at right with a thin wire halo and carrying a thin staff with a curved thin element on front; angel wears robe with a shell motif on each side of chest and a sash with incised flowers over his PL shoulder; angel points downward with his PR hand; young man seated on rock at left, with bare feet, wearing a short robe with zigzag design at hem, looking up at angel; fantastic fish with many teeth, tongue and snout emerging from water at center; spaniel-type dog between two man figures, looking down at fish; figures are silver, base/rocks are gilded

Saint Raphael with Tobias, His Dog, and the Fish, c. 1780

Tobias, a young Jewish man, has been sent by his blind father to retrieve money left with a relative. Accompanying him on the journey are his dog and a hired guide who, unbeknownst to him, is the archangel Raphael. When they reach the Tigris River, Tobias is attacked by a monstrous fish. Raphael tells him to catch it and preserve its innards as medicines. Tobias later burns the heart and liver to free his future wife from a demon and uses the gall (bile) to cure his father’s blindness. The lively dog appears in other works by Sanmartino—it may have been the artist’s own pet.

Exhibitions
Details
Title
Saint Raphael with Tobias, His Dog, and the Fish
Artist Life
1720–1793
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2015.24.1
Curator Approved

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standing male angel at right with a thin wire halo and carrying a thin staff with a curved thin element on front; angel wears robe with a shell motif on each side of chest and a sash with incised flowers over his PL shoulder; angel points downward with his PR hand; young man seated on rock at left, with bare feet, wearing a short robe with zigzag design at hem, looking up at angel; fantastic fish with many teeth, tongue and snout emerging from water at center; spaniel-type dog between two man figures, looking down at fish; figures are silver, base/rocks are gilded