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Hagar and Ishmael

A work made of marble.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of marble.




Edward Sheffield Bartholomew
American, 1822–1858

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.


On View, Gallery 174


Arts of the Americas


Edward Sheffield Bartholomew (Sculptor)


Hagar and Ishmael


Rome (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.





Inscribed, lower right: "BARTHOLOMEW ROME 1856"


71.1 × 49.9 cm (28 × 19 5/8 in.)

Credit Line

The Roger McCormick and J. Peter McCormick funds

Reference Number


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