“Tobias & the Angel”
Oil on canvas c1700, in the manner of Mattia Preti & signed ‘M.P.’ in monogram.
Mattia Preti was born in 1613 in Taverna (Calabria), dying in 1699 in Valetta (Malta). He was a painter of historical and religious subjects, and church painting, working in many cities in Italy and for the last 40 years of his life, on Malta, where he was made a Knight of the Order of Malta, and was known as the ‘Knight of Calabria’
Tobias was sent by his father Tobit (in the ‘Book of Tobit’) to collect a sum of money: on the way, washing his feet in the river Tigris, he was attacked by a fish, which tried to swallow his foot; by order of the angel, he caught it.