Jan van Noordt grew up in a musical family in Amsterdam and trained with Jacob Adriaensz. Backer. His earliest dated work is from 1644. His work demonstrates a Flemish influence, especially that of Jacob Jordaens, but is also visibly indebted to the Rembrandt school. Van Noordt was primarily a painter of histories, genre scenes and portraits. This work depicts Hagar and Ishmael in the desert following their expulsion by Abraham. Hagar has just abandoned Ishmael in despair, convinced he will soon die of starvation and heat exhaustion. Her lamentations are heard by God, however, and he sends an angel who assures her that Ishmael will survive and one day father one of the world’s greatest nations. Van Noordt depicts the moment in a dramatic fashion, bringing out the powerful emotions of the event.