(b. 1622, Middenbeemster, d. 1654, Delft)

Hagar and the Angel

Oil on canvas, 158 x 136 cm
Residenzgalerie, Salzburg

In the nineteenth century this painting was believed to be one of Rembrandt's works; later it was attributed to Rembrandt's pupil Ferdinand Bol, and currently it is considered to be by Carel Fabritius.

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 nearby, so they were both saved. Two scenes, the banishment, and the appearance of the angel are common in 17th century Italian and Dutch painting.