Jan Havicksz. Steen ca. 1626 – 1679

Tobias' and Sara's Wedding Night

oil on canvas (81 × 123 cm) — 17th century Museum Museum Bredius, The Hague

Jan Havicksz. Steen biography

This work is linked to Tobit 8:4

Tags: Tobit | Raphael

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Sara's seven previous husbands had not survived the wedding night. The Archangel Raphael makes sure that the devil will not intervene this time and guards the newly wed Tobias.

The work survived as two separate panels for many decades, only to be joined again at a major reconstruction effort in 1996 (read about it on the museum's web site). It is not known why the parts were initially separated.

At an earlier reconstruction of the left panel in the 1960s the angel's wings and dagger were discovered, proving that the two parts had indeed once belonged together.

The action of joining caused a problem for the owners. The right part officially belonged to the museum. The left is part of the Goudstikker collection. This collection of over 200 works had been in the possession of the Dutch state since 1945, but was handed over to the Goudstikker heirs in 2006. The museum tried to buy the part it did not own, but could not raise enough funds. The city, that owns the museum, then wanted to sell its part to the heirs. Opponents of the sale tried to stop it and went to court. In 2010 the court decided that Abraham Bredius' will had to be followed: the painting with the archangel was not to leave the museum.

Experts assume that the painting used to be larger, thus putting Tobias and Sara in the center of the composition.

The date of the painting is unknown.

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