The Angel Appearing to Hagar
In the Old Testament, Hagar was the servant and mistress of Abraham, whose son Ishmael she bore. Mother and child were banished into the wilderness at the request of Abraham’s jealous wife, and when Hagar ran out of water she abandoned Ishmael to die and sat down and wept. At this point an angel revealed a nearby well to her, and promised future prosperity for the boy if she would take him up again. The subject was popular with Rembrandt’s pupils, who were attracted by themes of sympathy, charity and forgiveness.