Object Image

Anna and the Blind Tobit

A cold, grey light creeps through an open window into a room that is itself very old - no glass in the window, a heavy wooden shutter, an open fire with an earthenware pot beside it. The light falls onto an old man. He sits facing into the room, his hands clasped, his head lowered, his face almost lost in shadow. This is Tobit; he sits near his wife Anna, who winds wool on a frame. An apocryphal story tells us that Tobit was a good and holy man but that God made him blind to test his faith.

The old couple await the return of their son Tobias, who has gone to collect money owed to Tobit in order to relieve their poverty. After many adventures Tobias returns, bringing a miraculous cure for Tobit...

c. 1630
Oil on oak
63.8 x 47.7cm
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2023

Where you'll find this

Deepen your knowledge