Carl Wilhelm Tischbein (1797 – 1855)
The painting was completed in 1817 in Rome and tells a story from the Old Testament. The devout Tobit, who has been miraculously healed of his blindness, is stepping forward to greet Sarah. She is the bride of his son Tobias, who with the help of the archangel Raphael has returned unharmed and with a rich retinue from his trip abroad. Although Tobit’s wife Hannah is embracing the young Sarah, both she and her son are secondary characters in the main narrative of the picture. The patriarch and his daughter-in-law are the only people whose gazes meet. The painter announces the encounter that is about to happen as a meeting of two people whose prayers have been granted by God. Their trust in divine providence has been rewarded by an unexpected meeting out of God’s justice. Here Tischbein has selected a relatively undramatic, but – from a Christian point of view – moving moment of the narrative.