Hagar's Expulsion From The House Of Abraham By Peter Paul Rubens

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Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” The religious figure Abraham is one of the most polarizing figures in the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These religions are all founded with the belief that Abraham is their common ancestor. However, these religions have a rift in beliefs surrounding the decision of which son of Abraham, Ishmael or Isaac, is the legitimate heir to Abraham’s everlasting covenant with God. The painting of “Hagar’s Expulsion from the House of Abraham,” by Peter Paul Rubens, and a collection of articles discussed in class support the claim that because
Sarah and Hagar never established a “sisterhood,” or resolved the hostility that surrounded their relationship,
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One artist in particular who painted this scene without apparent biases was a man by the name of Peter Paul Rubens. Peter Paul Rubens was born on June 28, 1577 in Siegen, Westphalia. He was raised in a Catholic environment throughout his childhood and adolescent years. Many scholars believe these circumstances could explain why a religious theme is pervasive throughout much of his work. As a result of this focus, Rubens eventually became one of the main voices of the Catholic Counter-Reformation style of painting (Peterpaulrubens.org). However, in his painting, “Hagar Leaves the House of Abraham,” Rubens did not intentionally try to “emphasize religious aspects of the story, but rather the stoic dignity of Hagar’s behavior (BOOK).” Sir Dudley, who was the English Clerk of Council at the time of the making of this painting, was an orthodox Calvinist that bought many paintings from Rubens (WIKI). I find it interesting that Rubens, as a Catholic selling to a Christian buyer, painted Hagar as being a stoic figure as opposed to Sarah. Since Rubens was more a follower of the Judeo-Christian ideology than he would be of Islamic ideology, I’m surprised Rubens did not paint with more subjectively by painting Sarah instead as being a stoic figure for casting out her insubordinate handmaid. This scene portrays Sarah scolding the pregnant Hagar, who is leaving the house of Abraham with a …show more content…
Abraham appears to be conflicted because he is painted standing half-in, half-out of the doorway. Rubens used the color red to symbolize Hagar and rich fabric to portray Sarah. The colors show the emotional energy of Sarah’s obvious jealousy and Hagar’s perplexed response. Sarah is pointing away from the residence of Abraham and herself, while a dog is viscously barking at Hagar in attempts to encourage her to departure quickly. I believe it is interesting to consider why neither Isaac nor Ishmael are present in this painting. While these three religions focus more on the importance of which son of Abraham is the legitimate heir, Ruben’s work focuses on Abraham’s struggle to decide which woman he ultimately

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