'Tobias and the Angel',
by the Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio
London, The National Gallery.
For 2009/10, the one-day 'Take One
Picture' Continuing Professional Development courses,
run by National Gallery Education, focused on 'Tobias
and the Angel' by the Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio.
The course looked at ways of using paintings in the
classroom as a starting point for delivering many areas
of the National Curriculum. This principle aligns closely
with the DCSF
Primary National Strategy: Excellence and Enjoyment,
which supports a holistic approach to the curriculum
by exploiting the links between subject areas.
The subject is taken from the apocryphal Book of Tobit.
Tobias was sent by his blind father, the merchant Tobit,
to collect a debt. 'Ricordo' (memorandum) is written
on a small scroll in the boy's hand. The Archangel Raphael
who accompanies Tobias instructs him to extract the
heart, liver and gall from a fish as a cure to heal
his father's blindness. Raphael is shown holding a small
box containing the remedy.
The story of Tobias and the angel was a popular subject
in 15th-century Florence, where a confraternity of Saint
Raphael flourished. Raphael was venerated as a protector
of travellers and as a healer. The theme of filial piety,
enterprise and charity was important for the merchant
families of the city.
It is likely that more than one artist worked on the
painting, consistent with practice in Verrocchio's workshop.
Some parts - most notably the dog - have been plausibly
proposed as the work of the young Leonardo.
A display of work produced by schools based on this
painting will be shown at the National Gallery in Spring
2011, and a selection will also be displayed on this
website. To be considered for this gallery display,
submit examples of how a whole class or school has used
the picture in a cross-curricular way (no original work
please) to the Education Department by Monday 1 November
here to view work from the 2011 exhibition, inspired
by this painting.
© The National Gallery,