(b. 1604, Chamagne, d. 1682, Roma)
The Expulsion of Hagar1668
Oil on canvas, 107 x 140 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich
A pair of landscapes, the Expulsion of Hagar and the Landscape with Hagar and the Angel of 1668 in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich, are further examples of Claude's often-repeated essay on the theme of the morning and evening landscape. Again, the figures play a tiny and almost insignificant part in the picture, although in the Expulsion there is a feeling that they are reacting to the inhospitable nature of the cool morning. Such pictures, or pendants as they came to be known, were a great favourite with collectors because they were easier to hang in a room whose design was formal. A surprising number of painters of all schools in the seventeenth century painted pictures in this way, although an informality of hanging which developed in the nineteenth century has often obscured this.
The biblical story depicted in the paintings is the following.
Hagar, the Egyptian hand maiden of Sarah was the mother of Ishmael, Abraham's first son. When Isaac, Sarah's son, was born Ishmael mocked his younger brother so that Sarah asked Abraham to banish him, together with his mother. Abraham provided them with bread and a bottle of water and sent them off into the desert of Beersheba. When the water was spent Hagar put Ishmael under a bush to die and then sat some way off, weeping. But an angel appeared, by tradition the archangel Michael, and disclosed a well of water near by, so they were both saved. Two scenes, the banishment, and the appearance of the angel are common in 17th century Italian and Dutch painting.
The painting is included in Liber Veritatis (LV 173). The pendant of the painting, Hagar and Ishmael in the Desert (LV 174), is also in the Alte Pinakothek.