Bridget McDonnell Gallery/Carlton, Australia

Immortal combat. “Jacob and the Angel,” by the Australian painter Roy de Maistre (1894–1958), vividly portrays the two figures battling each other until dawn. The scene is described in Genesis 32:25–32. Jacob’s foe is popularly thought of as an angel; many scholars, however, interpret the biblical passage to mean that Jacob wrestled with God.

Like most of the extraordinary sons granted to barren women, Jacob must confront a deadly peril early in his life. Unlike those sons, Jacob faces extended travails—first with his revenge-seeking brother Esau (who felt that Jacob had cheated him of his birthright) and then during the all-night struggle depicted here.