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Painting Title Hagar and Ishmael in the Desert
Collection York Art Gallery
Artist Attributed to Austrian School
Date Earliest possibly about 1720
Date Latest possibly about 1760

An angel gestures to a woman and child placed centrally in a landscape. The subject is taken from Genesis 16. Hagar was an Egyptian handmaiden of Sarah who gave her to Abraham to bear him a child, Ishmael, the patriarch of the Ishmaelites. Later Sarah gave birth to Isaac, When she found the teenage Ishmael mocking her son, she demanded Abraham send Hagar and her son away. God told Abraham that not only would Isaac carry the Abrahamic line, but a nation would come from the line of Ishmael as well. Abraham gave Hagar bread and water then sent them into the desert. When they ran out of water, the Angel of God apeared and showed Hagar a well of water, so they managed to survive.

Although the painting seems to date to the first half of the 18th century, it is also similar to YORAG : 16 (A Sketch for a Ceiling, attributed to the Venetian orAustrian School, possibly second half of the 18th century). The colour palettes are different, but the style in depicting figures, especially heads, is very similar.

Current Accession Number YORAG : 772
Subject religion (Hagar and Ismael); figure; landscape
Measurements 45.7 x 72.6 cm
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by F.D. Lycett Green through the National Art Collections Fund 1955.
Provenance Nicholson Gallery, Leek, from whom purchased by F.D. Lycett Green 1943.
Principal Exhibitions F.D. Lycett Green Gift, York City Art Gallery, 1955, no. 50 as by Pier Francesco Mola.
Publications York Art Gallery Catalogue - Catalogue of Paintings, Vol. I: Foreign Schools 1350-1800, City of York Art Gallery, York, 1961, p. 87 as Austrian School; Oil Paintings in Public Ownership. North Yorkshire, London, 2006, p. 236.

Francis Denis Lycett Green (1893-1959) was a member of the wealthy industrial Green family from Wakefield that was among the great philanthropic benefactors of York. He began buying pictures during the 1920s, advised by some of the most famous art historians of the day. By the 1940s, he owned examples from almost every school and period of European Art a comprehensive collection of over 130 paintings dating back from the early 14th century to the end of the 18th century, representing every important European school of art. In 1952, he offered it to the National Gallery of South Africa, having moved to Cape Town in the hope that the climate would improve his health (which was poor because he was badly injured in the First World War). However when a dispute arose with the Cape Town Gallery, Francis withdrew his pictures in protest and shipped them back to England. The entire collection of 130 pictures was at first on loan to the York Art Gallery and in the spring of 1955 he decided to give it to the Gallery.

Rights Owner York Museums Trust (York Art Gallery)
Author Dr Magdalena Łanuszka



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