Rembrandt and Tobias
Look at Rembrandt’s various images of the Tobias story. They are all striking. But for the necessity of wings depicting angels in the 17 th Century, the images are very telling of the experience of a visit by a guiding and helpful other.
Rembrandt returned to this theme time and again throughout his career and made a masterpiece every time. I especially recommend Rembrandt’s many drawings of Tobias and Raphael on the road. We see the companion as an angel but remember that Tobias sees a man in a man’s clothes. Look at his painting of the Evangelist Matthew. Matthew’s situation is not life threatening, but it is of vital importance to him and his spiritual life. His image of an angel staying the hand of the desperate Abraham before slaying Isaac is very powerful and his painting of Jacob Wrestling an Angel.
Google Rembrandt and Tobias and you will get an interesting sense of the scope of Rembrandt’s interest the topic and of his sense of men grappling with the concept of angels.
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Flaubert’s ‘Temptation of Saint Anthony’, Guy de Maupassant’s ‘The Horla’, and, of course, T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’. All have been linked to the Third Man Factor. If you come across an example, add it here.