Carel Fabritius: Hagar and the Angel (1645)


(The Leiden Collection, New York City, USA)

A painting by the Dutch artist Carel Fabritius (1622-1654). The depicted biblical scene comes from Genesis 21:15–19:

15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes.
16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob.
17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid;God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.
18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”
19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

Hagar was an Egyptian handmaid of Sarah (the wife of Abraham) who became the second wife of Abraham. When Hagar became pregnant a tension grew between Sarah and Hagar which eventually resulted in Hagar being expelled by Abraham. When Hagar and her child Ishmael wondered through the wilderness until their water was completely consumed. As a result of their suffering, Hagar broke down in despair and started to cry. At that moment an angel appeared and rescued her (the angel on the painting is comforting Hagar with one and and points toward the source of Hagar’s salvation with his other hand). In the Islamic tradition the well that sprang is the well of Zamzam (zam means stop) in the Great Mosque of Mecca, visiting this well is a part of the Hajj and Umrah. 
Carel Fabritius was a pupil of Rembrandt, something which shows in this painting. Painting from 1645

Painting from 1645.

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