Jan 29, 2018

Ishmael and Hagar

You remember the story of Ishmael in the Book of Genesis:  he was Abraham's oldest son, born to Sarah's handmaiden Hagar; but Sarah wanted her own son Isaac to be heir, so she had Ishmael and Hagar cast out into the desert to die.  When they were dying of thirst, an angel appeared and made a well magically appear.  Eventually they settled in the desert of Paran, where he married and had twelve sons, the ancestors of the twelve tribes of the Arabs.

Ishmael was sixteen years old when he and his mother were cast out, an adult in ancient society, but a lot of artists like to make him a baby or a little boy, to emphasize the pathos. 

And to avoid having to draw muscular men.

Simone Cantarini (1612-1648) compromises.  Ishmael is that chubby baby in the background, dying of thirst while a naked, muscular male angel is appearing to Hagar.

Others, like Lodovico Caselli (1817-1862) have the naked, dying youth wrapped in his mother's arms, a sort of Pieta.

At least Jean Charles Cazin (1840-1901) gives us a nicely shaped bum.

As does Edward Sheffield Bartholomew (1822-1858)

Fidardo Landi (1865-1918) skips Hagar and concentrates on Ishmael.

In the 1994 movie Abraham, Ishmael is played by Giuseppe Peluso

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