"Abraham Returns Hagar, Engraving After Horace Vernet"Beautiful engraving under glass in a gilt frame depicting a biblical scene after the painting of Horace Vernet.
Dimensions 103 cm by 86, frame included.
In good condition, the engraving has stains and soiling as seen in the photos.
Inspired by a biblical episode (Genesis, XXI) frequently illustrated by artists between the seventeenth and nineteenth century, the painting represents repudiation by Abraham of Agar and their son Ishmael. Having remained sterile for a long time, Sarah, Abraham's wife, encouraged the union of her husband with her Egyptian servant Agar (Genesis XVI). Divine intervention finally gives the couple a legitimate child - Isaac - which results in the banishment of the maidservant and her son to the desert where the angels will save them from death. After Rebekah at the fountain, a painting also inspired by the Old Testament that he presented at the Salon of 1835 after returning from his trip to Algeria, Vernet deepened with his repudiation of Agar the process called "Arabization" of the Bible, reading of which he will be the most ardent defender in France. Nothing is missing here, neither the Bedouin tent, nor the picturesque types and costumes (especially that of Abraham, copied on that of a "beautiful Scheyck [sic] of Bedouins"), which will arouse the admiration of Prosper Mérimée. As a good painter of history, very familiar with the great academic tradition, Vernet explores the psychology of the protagonists of the drama and plays strongly on oppositions by building its composition on both sides of a large vertical line. On the left, on the side of Sarah who jealously watches over Isaac, the elect, the order, the lineage, the inheritance. On the right, promised to the loneliness of the desert if not to death, Agar and the adulterine son of Abraham turn to the latter looks where the distress and misunderstanding of the child and the mute pain (and somewhat disdainful?) of the concubine betrayed. Between the elect and the reprobate stands the high figure of the patriarch, whose unyielding attitude is scarcely tempered by the shadow of a passing regret.