Tobias with the Angel Dragging the Fish (The Large Tobias)

Accession Number

Tobias with the Angel Dragging the Fish (The Large Tobias)

Hendrik Goudt

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
etching and engraving on laid paper

7 ¾ in x 10 in (19.68 cm x 25.4 cm);18 in x 22 1/16 in (45.72 cm x 56.04 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy
Gallery Rotation Fall 2011
Hendrik Goudt
Netherlands, 1585–1630
(after Adam Elsheimer, Germany, 1574–1620)
Tobias with the Angel Dragging the Fish (The Large Tobias)
Etching and engraving
Museum purchase, 1972/1.165
Not much is known about Goudt’s early work as a painter and engraver, but in 1604 he traveled to Rome and associated with a group of northern writers and intellectuals, including the German painter Adam Elsheimer. Goudt lived with Elsheimer for part of his time in Rome and seems to have been in the unusual position of being both Elsheimer’s patron and student.
Goudt made only a few prints, most of which are after Elsheimer’s paintings, a common means for disseminating a painter’s work to a wider audience. In this scene showing the Biblical story of the youthful Tobias traveling with the archangel Raphael, the figures are in the foreground while behind them unfolds a lush landscape that evokes pastoral descriptions by the ancient Roman poet Ovid (43 bce–17/18 ce). Classical sources for works of art appealed to the literary group in Rome with which both Goudt and Elsheimer were associated; they offered those in the know an opportunity to display their erudition, confirming their membership in a learned elite.

Subject matter
As with most the Goudt's prints, this composition is based on a painting by Adam Elsheimer, a German painter and friend of Goudt's whom he knew when both were residing in Rome. This scene is based on the Old Testament story of Tobias who, accompanied by the angel Raphael, brings home a fish whose gall cures the blindness of his father, Tobit.

Physical Description
This black and white print shows an outdoor scene with lush leafy trees, open sky and mountains in the far distance. Two figures are walking along a wooded path in the foreground- one is a man with wings wearing robed garments and the other a younger man carrying a single large fish. There is a city shown in the middle distance through the trees and a pasture scene depicted on the right.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
intaglio print

Collection Area

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angels (spirits)
cityscapes (representations)
fish (animals)

4 Related Resources

Hebrew Bible / Old Testament
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Northern Renaissance and Reformation-Era Art
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Religious Life in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
The Divine Comedy
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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