Tobias and the Angel by the Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio
This Renaissance masterpiece, from the Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio, is the third and final exhibition in the highly successful National Gallery Masterpiece Tour, generously supported by the National Gallery, London.
Renaissance Masterpiece from the National Gallery at Carmarthenshire Museum
Tobias and the Angel (about 1470-5), an altar painting by the Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio, can be seen at Carmarthenshire Museum from 9 September 2023 to 7 January 2024. Admission to the museum is free.
The painting is part of the National Gallery Masterpiece Tour (2021-2023) that offers three non-London museums, galleries or arts centres the opportunity to partner with the National Gallery for three years to display one different major artwork from its collection each year.
This is the third and final Masterpiece Tour exhibition at Carmarthenshire Museum. The first and second paintings were Chardin’s House of Cards and Rembrandt’s Saskia van Uylenburgh in Arcadian Costume (1635).
Andrea del Verrocchio was a leading artist of Renaissance Florence. Mainly known as a sculptor, he also trained painters in his workshop, including Leonardo da Vinci. There is strong evidence suggesting Leonardo painted parts of Tobias and the Angel.
The picture tells a story in the biblical book of Tobit. Tobias is a young boy sent by his elderly, blind father to collect a debt. God sends the Archangel Raphael to accompany Tobias and his dog. Along the way, Raphael instructs Tobias to catch a fish and advises him that the organs can be used to create an ointment to cure blindness and be burnt to drive away evil spirits.
While on their journey the pair visited Tobias’s cousin, Sarah. She had married seven times, but each time a demon had killed her husband before the wedding night. Tobias decided to marry her and end the curse. On the wedding night he burnt the organs which, as Raphael had foretold, drove the demon away. The book culminates with Tobias’s return home, where he took Raphael’s advice and cured his father’s blindness.
The themes of folk healing and protection from evil spirits are explored in a display of items from the collection at Carmarthenshire Museum accompanying the painting of Tobias and the Angel. Visitors can also enjoy a tactile panel based on the painting created by the museum’s volunteer-run Stich in Time group.