The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1938

Jean Baptiste Camille Corot

“Hagar in the Wilderness” (1835)

Her drinking water gone, the anguished Hagar pleads to God to save her dying son Ishmael. As related in Genesis 21, an angel calls to Hagar: “Fear not, for God has heeded the cry of the boy where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him” (21:17, 18).

Meant to represent the wilderness of Beer-Sheba, Corot’s impressive rocky landscape is actually based on sketches he made outside of Rome, although the largest tree is one he earlier painted in France and then added to this composition.