KULENOVIC  C o l l e c t i o n - Works on Paper

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Rembrandt Van Rijn 
“Abraham entertaining the angels” (1665)  
Etching and drypoint


The first etching, “Abraham Entertaining the Angels” (1656) depicts a miracle unfolding; the aged couple Abraham and Sarah visited by three angels who would foretell Sarah's pregnancy at the age of ninety. God tested his servants Abraham and Sarah withholding progeny until a ripe old age. Abraham in fact seems pushed aside, appearing only as a small figure in the lower right waiting to serve his seated celestial guests. These three strange beings; a powerful warrior intruding from the left margin, the center occupied by a gregarious and kindly old sage flanked by winged contemplative monk, dominate the image of Abraham's hospitality. Abraham's first son, Ishmael, son of Sarah's maidservant Hagar, plays behind them shooting an arrow at an unseen quarry. Behind the guests the barren matriarch, Sarah, lurks inside the house just visible in the shadows and eavesdropping on the prophecy unfolding. The old sage seems to be speaking as he gestures. Could it be he is telling Abraham that next year at this time Sarah will have a child? Could it be that this is the moment that Sarah laughs, doubting and incurring God's anger. Could it be this is the moment she tests God?