• Abraham on the Road to Canaan

    Artist:
    Lastman, Pieter. 1583-1633
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    72x122 cm

Lastman, Pieter. 1583-1633

Abraham on the Road to Canaan

Holland, 1614

Dutch 17th-century artists formed a sort of circle whose members mutually influenced each other. Pieter Lastman is known as a master of the historical genre and a pupil of Rembrandt. Despite the fact that he lived and worked in Amsterdam, it is possible to spot in his oeuvre features of the Caravaggism that was common among the painters of Utrecht. One of Lastman’s best paintings, Abraham on the Road to Canaan, is based on the Old Testament story of the first great Hebrew patriarch. Following God’s will, he led his people to the promised land. The shaft of light coming from the heavens indicates that he has reached his cherished goal. Apart from that miraculous light, everything here is very down-to-earth and concrete: the rather naïve plain-looking faces of the personages, the bundles and baskets of belongings and the superbly painted animals. This work belongs to a new type of historical painting that Lastman developed: the small-format pictures were intended for private homes and invested with specific topical meaning. The Dutch of the early 17th century, who had regained their country from foreign rulers after severe trials and great sacrifices, often identified themselves with the chosen people of the Bible. It was Lastman’s works in particular that awakened in the young Rembrandt an interest in historical narrative and in the use of light and shade that would become one of the chief means of expression in his own paintings and graphic art.

Title:

Abraham on the Road to Canaan

Place:

Date:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

72x122 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1938; purchased from a private person

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-8306

Category:

Collection:

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