Detail of St. Joseph Gives the Lily Stalk to St. Anthony of Padua
In this very small detail an angel presents a dark vesture to a tonsured man in a light gray monastic habit. The wide tonsure and beardless face suggest that the man is St. Anthony. If the angel is Raphael the boy at Anthony's knee could be Tobias. The change of vesture could refer to Anthony's relinquishing his place as an Augustinian canon and taking on the habit of the Franciscans. The Franciscan habit is usually, but not always, presented as dark brown. The vita of this saint in the Acta Sanctorum expresses his entry into an Augustinian community as the taking on of their habit (devotus habitum Religionis assumpsit), and the Franciscans' acceptance of him is also expressed in terms of the habit (suae habitum Religionis imponunt).1 The summer dress of the Augustinians can be white, although usually their habit is black.2
However, nothing in the vita refers to any angel or child in the context of Anthony's joining the Franciscans.
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Photographed at the Church of San Maurizio, Venice, by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.