Abraham Entertaining the Angels, 1656

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Abraham was deeply interesting to Rembrandt, who returned to the subject throughout his career. Here Abraham (at far right) ministers to three travelers, extending every hospitality his 99 years will allow. Led by a rotund, turbaned figure of God, the trio brings a surprising message: Abraham and his aged wife, Sarah, will have a child. Listening in the doorway, the old woman is amazed.

Rembrandt departed from Genesis 18 by including Ishmael, Abraham's son born of the servant Hagar. Facing the wilderness with his bow, the boy will soon be exiled, yet live to become patriarch of the Ishmaelites—identified by some as forebears of the Islamic nations. Rembrandt's print may function, then, to suggest a common ground among various faiths born of the same father, Abraham.

Abraham Entertaining the Angels
Artist Life
Accession Number
W.D.W.E Drugulin, blue stamp verso, (L.2612); circular stamp verso, unidentified; A. Buego (L.82).
Catalogue Raisonne
Hind 286 os; B.29; Mz.185 os; Holl. 29 os; B-B.56-B
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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