||Abraham and Isaac
oil on panel, 1998
18" X 24"
|Click on pictures below for detail view.
In the Old Testament,the Lord tests Abraham
by commanding him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, whom Abraham loves. Just as Abraham is about
to slit Isaac's throat, an angel appears and stays his hand. Having passed the test,
Abraham is allowed instead to sacrifice a ram.
In painting and sculpture,
the story of the Sacrifice of Isaac is usually depicted
at the climactic moment, with Abraham holding the knife to Isaac's neck, and the angel
rushing to the rescue (Caravaggio's is an especially savage example). My painting depicts
an earlier moment, showing Abraham's dread at his obligation. I was afraid that actually
showing Abraham with a knife would make the painting too sensational. But I tried to
suggest the impending violence by putting a knife in the hand of the action figure
held by Isaac. The godlike-power of the child manipulating his toy perhaps suggests
a parallel with Abraham's situation.
My cousin Mick was the model for Isaac.