Monday, April 28, 2014

Hagar in the Wilderness (1835)

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot: Hagar in the Wilderness

This picture, shown at the Salon of 1835, is the earliest of four large ambitious biblical paintings that Corot exhibited in the 1830s and 1840s. Like the Museum's Destruction of Sodom (1843–44; 29.100.18), it illustrates the story of the family of Abraham, the father of Israel. Hagar, the servant of Abraham's wife Sarah, bore Abraham's son Ishmael. Later, when Isaac was born to Sarah, she drove Hagar and Ishmael into the desert of Beersheba. For this painting, Corot chose the moment of divine salvation of the mother and child (Genesis 21:15–17). Following an old pictorial tradition, Corot has included the angel from an earlier episode in which the pregnant Hagar, expelled by Sarah, was sent back to her by an angel (Genesis 16:7–9). [Metropolitan Museum]

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