Tobias and Three Angels

Jacek Malczewski

  • Tobias and Three Angels 2
  • Tobias and Three Angels 3
Basic information
Jacek Malczewski
Tobias and Three Angels
Date of creation
oil painting
cardboard oil
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
21.5 x 48
Information about author
Jacek Malczewski
Artist's lifetime
Jacek Malczewski (July 14, 1854, Radom, Kingdom of Poland, Russian Empire – October 8, 1929, Krakow, Republic of Poland) was an outstanding artist and one of the most prominent representatives of Polish Symbolism. He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Krakow, where his teacher was Jan Matejko. The artist participated in an archeological expedition to Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Greece, which was organized by Count Karol Lanckoronski. He also visited Munich and Italy. Jacek Malczewski was one of the founders of the art union "Sztuka" ("Art"). The artist's creative heritage includes landscapes and portraiture, symbolic compositions, interpretations of religious themes, and numerous self-portraits in various images.
Object description
Jacek Malczewski dedicated a separate thematic block of his creative work to the images of angels who accompany their companions on the road, or we can say, in their existential way or journey as a metaphor for human life. A separate important intertext to this work is that the story of Tobias and his blind father is told in the Book of Tobias, which is part of the canon of the Bible among Orthodox and Catholics. Malczewski's painting presents the figures of the angels Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and Tobias, who set out on a difficult journey in a completely neutral landscape – they follow a simple road among the fields. Following the narrative of the Holy Scriptures, the modernist artist, far from pious moralism, presented the traditional plotline of Catholic images in an original realistic form filled with symbols and allegories as a person's desire to travel. Chubby figures of angels in whimsical clothes with celestial shades of wings, along with Tobias walking behind them, lead and protect the young man on the road. At the end of the road, on the horizon, one can see a lone tree as a symbol of human life, as well as an imitation of Italian Renaissance painting.
At the upper right of the painting there is an inscription "J Malczewski 1922"