Abraham Casting Out Hagar and Ishmael

Rembrandt etching depicting biblical scene of Abraham casting Hagar and Ishmael

Rembrandt van Rijn
Abraham Casting Out Hagar and Ishmael, 1637
Etching with touches of drypoint, only state
4 7/8 x 3 3/4 inches (12.5 x 9.5 cm)
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York

In Genesis 21, in accordance with Sarah’s wishes and the Lord’s command, Abraham reluctantly banishes his firstborn, Ishmael, and the boy’s mother, the slave Hagar. Rembrandt depicts this scene as a sorrowful farewell witnessed with pleasure by Sarah and Isaac. Torn between his two families, Abraham stands on the threshold of his home, his outstretched arms conveying his conflicted feelings and his helplessness in the face of God’s will.

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