OIL PAINTING: The Expulsion of Hagar, 1668
A pair of landscapes, the Expulsion of Hagar and the Landscape with Hagar and the Angel of 1668 in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich, are further examples of Claude Lorrain's often-repeated essay on the theme of the morning and evening landscape. Again, the figures play a tiny and almost insignificant part in the picture, although in the Expulsion there is a feeling that they are reacting to the inhospitable nature of the cool morning. Such paintings, or pendants as they came to be known, were a great favourite with collectors because they were easier to hang in a room whose design was formal. A surprising number of painters of all schools in the seventeenth century painted pictures in this way, although an informality of hanging which developed in the nineteenth century has often obscured this.
The biblical story depicted in The Expulsion of Hagar by Lorrain is the following.
Hagar, the Egyptian hand maiden of Sarah was the mother of Ishmael, Abraham's first son. When Isaac, Sarah's son, was born Ishmael mocked his younger brother so that Sarah asked Abraham to banish him, together with his mother. Abraham provided them with bread and a botle of water and sent them of into the desert of Beersheba. When the water was spent Hagar put Ismael under a bush to die and then sat some way off, weeping. But an angel appearred, by tradition the archangel Michael, and disclosed a well of water near by, so they were both saved. Two scenes, the banishment, and the appearence of the angel are common in 17th century Italian and Dutch painting.