The Banishment of Hagar

Johann Friedrich Overbeck German

Not on view

The Book of Genesis tells that Abraham banished his servant Hagar and their son Ishmael to satisfy his wife Sarah, who wanted to protect her son Isaac’s inheritance. Abraham’s outstretched arms encapsulate his ambivalence about this act. Overbeck was a leader of the Nazarenes, German artists based in Rome who sought to imbue their work with the purity and vitality they admired in Renaissance art. Using crisp contours, vibrant color, and unmodulated contrasts of light and shadow, Overbeck distilled the scene to its potent essentials. A German patron commissioned the canvas in 1830, but Overbeck only began painting it in 1839, due to his absorption with a massive picture for the Städel Museum in Frankfurt.

The Banishment of Hagar, Johann Friedrich Overbeck (German, Lübeck 1789–1869 Rome), Oil on canvas

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