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Massys, Cornelis
Tobias’ Wedding Night (“Tobias and Sarah praying”); No. 5 in a series of 8: The Story of Tobias)
around 1550

Tobias’s Wedding Night serves as the fifth plate in a series of eight engravings related to the Book of Tobit produced by Cornelis Massys around 1550. The scene takes place in Sarah’s bedchamber. Tobias, who bends over toward a fireplace, is in the act of throwing the heart and liver of the fish he caught at the Tigris River into the burning fire. This will drive away the evil spirit that has plagued all of Sarah’s previous marital hardships and killed her husbands. In the meantime, Sarah kneels in prayer at the edge of her bed asking God to protect and bless her marriage to Tobias. Massys diverges from the biblical account by only showing Sarah praying. Chapter eight of the Book of Tobit describes Tobias and his wife praying together. The artist lends Sarah agency by conveying her in this act alone. Although she has never sinned against the Lord, Sarah assumes responsibility for the death of her seven previous husbands and desires a wholesome marriage with Tobias. Over the course of his life, Massys adopted three different monograms. The “CMA” he used in the latter third of his career, appears at the bottom right corner of this engraving.

 
Massys, Cornelis
Antwerp, Belgium around 1510–Antwerp, Belgium around 1557
Tobias’ Wedding Night (“Tobias and Sarah praying”); No. 5 in a series of 8: The Story of Tobias)
around 1550
Engraving, state 1 of 2
overall: 7.5 cm x 9.1 cm
Purchase, Bader Acquisition Fund, 2010
53-046.055

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