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Swanevelt, Herman van
Tobias Frightened by the Fish; No. 2 in a series of 4: Old Testament Subjects
Around 1629-1641

Van Swanevelt shows the dramatic moment of Tobias being attacked by a fish jumping out of the Tigris River. The striking gestures, the sharp accentuation of the figures in chiaroscuro, and the sweeping forms of the trees all contribute to Baroque effect. It is synthesized with a classicising approach, incorporating contained calm, regular and rounded forms and rhythms, and clarity of narrative, consistent with academic principles and the style of Claude Lorrain, which Van Swanevelt studied on travels to France and Italy. By placing a large fish placed prominently in the centre foreground, the artist underscores the connection often noted between this episode in the Book of Tobit and the famous Biblical story in which the prophet Jonah is swallowed by a giant fish.

 
Swanevelt, Herman van
Woerden, Netherlands around 1600–Paris, France 1665
Tobias Frightened by the Fish; No. 2 in a series of 4: Old Testament Subjects
Around 1629-1641
Etching, state 1 of 4
overall: 14.5 cm x 20.2 cm
Purchase, Bader Acquisition Fund, 2010
53-046.077

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