Abraham Dismissing Hagar and Ishmael

Nicolaes Maes Dutch

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 616

This is the earliest dated work by Maes, one of the most versatile of Rembrandt’s students. From his teacher, Maes had acquired a knack for turning biblical stories into powerful domestic narratives. Here, in a subject Rembrandt also depicted, Maes portrays the Jewish patriarch Abraham banishing the handmaiden Hagar along with their son, Ishmael. Abraham attempts to reassure Hagar, but her downcast gaze, rhyming with the boy’s, conveys her abandonment and desolation.

Abraham Dismissing Hagar and Ishmael, Nicolaes Maes (Dutch, Dordrecht 1634–1693 Amsterdam), Oil on canvas

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