CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Tobit: Miracles and Morals

Exhibition: 1 September 2012 - 21 April 2013

From the museum website, 23 July 2012

A fish attacking a boy, the exorcism of a demon, and the healing of a blind man: the adventures and miracles recounted in the Book of Tobit have long fascinated readers and attracted the attention of artists, especially in the Northern Netherlands during the Baroque Era. This ancient Hebrew text tells the story of the troubles endured by the pious Tobit and his family, and the long journey taken by his faithful son, Tobias, to help. Adding to the text’s appeal were its many moral homilies, especially on filial loyalty, which transcended the sharp religious divisions of the day. Furthermore, the theme of travel suited the strong Netherlandish artistic tradition of depicting rich and imaginative landscapes. In turn, the episodes of powerful human drama, emotions and relationships made it a compelling thematic source for Rembrandt and the artists of the Dutch Golden Age.

This exhibition, the first devoted to representations of the Book of Tobit, draws on the rich holdings of paintings in the permanent collection donated by Alfred and Isabel Bader. In addition, it marks the Art Centre debut of an important collection of prints and drawings, recently acquired in its entirety through the generosity of the Baders.