Giuseppe Torretti
The Archangel Raphael

Church of Santa Maria Assunta ("The Gesuiti"), Venice, Italy

The "immense fish" of Tobit 6:3 is at the angel's left foot, inscribed medicina dei, "God's medicine." Raphael's name means "God has healed." On his right is Tobias, whom he is guiding on his journey to Medea.

The inscription below the angel identifies him as "St. Raphael Archangel," and the fish and boy anchor the sculpture solidly in the Book of Tobit, but the imagery is also influenced by the contemporary cult of Guardian Angels. In the Book of Tobit, Raphael is disguised as a man named Azariah, but here he is presented unambiguously as an angel, with wings and flowing garments and without the pilgrim's gear he has in most images of his adventure with Tobias. Also, this Tobias is a small boy, whereas in the story he is of marriageable age. In images of the Guardian Angels, their charges are usually young boys like this one, and the angels are unmistakably angels.

This is one of four statues of archangels flanking the east end of the nave. All are greater than life-size.

View this image in full resolution.
Read more about St. Raphael.
See the other three statues in the set: Gabriel, Michael, and Sealtiel.

Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.