A member of Verrocchio’s studio during that period, meaning that this perhaps is the first extant example of a painting with Leonardo da Vinci’s input.
Tobias and the Angel borrows from the apocryphal Book of Tobit. A young man, Tobias, is captured walking arm in arm with Archangel Raphael, who strikes out owing to his wings and halo, while a small dog also accompanies them along their path.
Their voyage courses through the beautiful ancient lands of Media in Persia, Rolling Hill greeting the banks of River Tigris flowing under a bridge beside a castle or fortified city, with desert terrain punctuated with rocks and plant life giving life to the vibrant masterpiece.
Angel Raphael looks at a small metal box at hand, while Tobias watches him closely and intently; they appear to be in an engaging discussion.
The wind blows softly rolling their drapery and catching Tobias’s curls, Tobias’s left shirtsleeve seems unlaced, possibly from his venture from catching the fish he’s carrying on a string as they course on through their journey.
From the Book of Tobit, which forms part of Catholic’s Old Testament, but is contrary considered apocryphal by Protestants, the story goes that.
Tobias, the only child to a blind holy man called Tobit and his wife Anna, of whom were Jews from Nineveh circa 700 BC, was sent on an errand to a distant land to collect a debt owed.
With a written memorandum (Ricordo), a small scroll in Tobias’ hand perhaps the detailing the particulars. As Tobias kicked off his journey, he was met by an angel Raphael, disguised as a man named Azarias. Tobias, together with the angel, as well as, Tobias’ dog coursed on their voyage.
Their first stop was at dusk, by River Tigris, and as Tobias was washing forth his feet, when a monstrous huge fish came up and tried to devour him wholly. But Tobias wrestled with the large fish and luckily managed to haul it unto dry land. The angel then instructed Tobias to cut out the liver, heart, and gull from the fish, and save them for they were powerful medicines.
After their rest, onwards they coursed until they arrived at the house of a kinsman name Raguel, a father with but one child, a daughter by the name Sara. For Sara, life hasn’t been so kind, married seven times, but with all seven husbands meeting an unfortunate demise at the hands of the devil.
All killed even before any of their marriages were ever consummated. The Archangel Raphael then instructed Tobias that he should marry Sara, although needless to say, Tobias was a bit hesitant given the history of all the previous suitors.
But the angel of the Lord told him need not worry but do as told, place the fish's heart over the fire and that the smoke rising forth would kill the devil and return peace stripped from the family, all of which occurred as foretold.
Later on, Tobias and Sara got married and spent some time with Sara’s family before journeying back home to meet his parents. Sara’s father ‘Raguel’, sent them off, wishing them journey mercies from the Lord our Father, and wished that he may keep them well, keep Tobias’ parent safe and sound, and with one last wish that he may see their children before he dies. After they said their goodbyes, they coursed off safe and sound throughout their voyage.
Until Tobias and Sara finally arrived home to his parents Tobit and Anna. With no harm whatsoever being incurred to them. And with the gall from the fish, Tobias anointed his father’s eyes, and Tobit’s sight was restored. Overwhelmed with all that Azarias (the angel) had done for them, and Tobias asked his father that they may reward the angel with as much as they could afford.
For he had done so much beyond words or compare; from delivering him from being devoured by the fish, to getting him a wife, and not forgetting restoring his father’s eyesight among so much more.
But when Tobit and his son Tobias approached Azarias with the much they could thank him with, Azarias declined, and revealed himself forth as the angel Raphael, explaining that God had sent him to guide them for Tobit had been such a holy man.
Tobit lived to the age of one hundred and two years, and after his death, Tobias and Sara, together with their seven Sons returned to Sara’s parent's place.
The story of Tobias and his voyage with the Angel was a prevalent subject throughout the late 15th-century Florence. Raphael was venerated as a healer and guardian of the people, protector of travellers. For the theme of filial piousness, enterprise, and charity was an important subject for the merchant families of the city.