With her face bathed in soft light, the weeping Hagar turns away from the viewer and looks up sharply. At his wife Sarah's request, Abraham reluctantly cast out the Egyptian slave-maid Hagar and the son she had conceived with him, Ishmael. After running out of water in the Beersheba desert, Hagar left her dying son crying under a bush, then moved a short distance away to weep in anguish.
Gerbrand van den Eeckhout represented Hagar with her vision of the angel who told her that God had heard the boy's cries and promised, "I will make a great nation of him." Looking up, Hagar saw a well nearby, and they were saved, to become the ancestors of the Arab peoples. Hagar and the angel's torso were cut from a larger painting some time before the Getty Museum received this painting.