About this artwork
During his brief career, Edward Sheffield Bartholomew was recognized by both critics and patrons for his sensitive marble renderings of biblical and mythological scenes. Taken from the book of Genesis, the story of the Egyptian handmaiden Hagar and her son, Ishmael, is one of deception and family betrayal. After giving birth to Ishmael, the illegitimate son of Abram (later Abraham), Hagar and her son are banished from the house of Abraham. Expelled to the desert, they are rescued from certain death by God, who provides a well to quench their thirst. Bartholomew’s relief shows the moment when Hagar pleads to the heavens to rescue her son. In the 19th century the story of Hagar was understood as an allegory of slavery that illustrated the indignities suffered by black women as well as the disenfranchisement of all African Americans.
- Edward Sheffield Bartholomew (Sculptor)
- Hagar and Ishmael
- Inscribed, lower right: "BARTHOLOMEW ROME 1856"
- 71.1 × 49.9 cm (28 × 19 5/8 in.)
- The Roger McCormick and J. Peter McCormick funds