Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Myths, folklore, and symbolism
Raphael: Archangel, the ideal of the angel as guardian spirit, especially the protector of the young, and of pilgrims and other travelers. In art he is represented above all as the traveling companion of the young Tobias. It was not uncommon in Renaissance Italy for the departure of the son of a family to a distant city or land to be commemorated by a picture of Tobias and the angel in which Tobias was portrayed in the likeness of the son. Raphael, the painter, depicted his guardian namesake presenting Tobias, who holds a fish, to the Virgin and Child enthroned, the 'Madonna del Pesce'. Like nearly all angels Raphael has wings and is dressed as a traveler, wearing sandals and holding the pilgrim's staf, sometimes with a wallet or water-gourd. He may hold a small casket or pyx. Because his name means 'God heals', Raphael was by tradition identified with the angel who stirred the waters of the Pool of Bethesda. (Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art)

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