Lazzaro Tavarone
Genoa 1556-Genoa 1641
Tobias and the Angel

Inscribed Sc. Cambiasi

Black chalk, pen and brown ink

145 x 210 mm. (5 x 8 1/8 in.)


Tavarone returned from Spain in 1594 and executed a series of four paintings on the life of Saint James. Mary Newcome describes his style, which compares quite closely to our drawing:

Tavarones use of Cambiasos broken contours and hollow eyes is similar to the figure style of Castello1 Tavarone worked on numerous frescoes and other decorations in Genoese palazzos.

The drawing shows the moment when the Archangel Raphael meets Tobias at the beginning of his journey with his dog. The story begins when Tobit, a devout Jew, lived with his wife Anna and their son. Tobit lost his eyesight as a result of a strange accident. He was resting when sparrow droppings fell into his eyes starting an inflammation which blinded him. Feeling that death was near he instructed Tobit to make a journey to Media to collect certain money due to him. Tobias looked for a travelling companion and met the archangel Raphael who agreed to accompany him. Tobias mistook the angel for an ordinary mortal. After receiving the blessing from the blind Tobit the pair set off, with the young mans dog following him.

Laura Giles has pointed out (verbal communication May 2004) the comparison in subject to a drawing in the Arts Institute of Chicago of the same subject2. There are in addition two other drawings of a similar size, technique, dimensions and squaring3 which support the theory that they could have been for a series concerning the apocryphal Book of Tobit.

The attribution to Lazzaro Tavarone was suggested by Hugo Chapman on inspection of the

drawing first hand.

1.Mary Newcome, Antologia di Artisti, pp.44-5.

2.S.Folds McCullagh and L.Giles, Italian Drawings before 1600 in The Art Institute of Chicago, 1997, 306.

3.Sothebys, New York, January 20, 1982, lot 61 and Sothebys New York, January 16 1985, lot 6.