A Guardian Angel Brings a Soul into Heaven
German Evangelical Church, Venice, Italy
This painting was commissioned by the Confraternity (Scuola) of the Guardian Angels for the chapel in their headquarters building. In the 19th century the building was secularized and then sold to the community of German Lutherans, who have decided to keep this painting and the Guardian Angel statue above the building's entrance:
When I visited the church, the volunteer guide referred to the boy and angel as Tobias and Raphael, but there are reasons to see it as a guardian angel taking a soul into Heaven. First there is the name of the confraternity. Secondly, the angel has no attributes suggestive of St. Raphael. Thirdly, just across the square in the Church of the Holy Apostles is a bronze memorial sculpture in which the man being memorialized lies on his deathbed while his guardian angel takes his soul into Heaven; the soul is pictured as a small boy just like the one in this painting. Finally, the artist has included in the lower left of the painting an image of souls in Purgatory (or possibly Hell).
View the painting in full resolution.
View the statue above the entrance in full resolution.
More of Guardian Angels
Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.