Abraham and Isaac: later images
Bronze panels by Brunelleschi (left) and Ghiberti (right). These were their entries to the competiton held in Florence in 1401 for the contract to design and make the baptistery doors. Ghiberti won. In my view, the right choice: Isaac holds rather an awkward pose in Brunelleschi's version. Both panels are in the Bargello museum in Florence.
Above right: The Sacrifice of Isaac by Donatello, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence. c1418. Right: a much later image by Tintoretto in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice, from 1577. Both images show an increasingly humanist interpretation, focusing on the drama and emotion of the story.



Anonymous, c 1535. Louvre, Paris

Lucas van Leyden. Woodcut, c1517. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

A different take on the story. The two images above show Abraham and Isaac on their way to the mountain in Moriah. Both are suggestive of the Passion narrative of the Via Dolorosa.

Michelangelo, c1525 Casa Buonarroti, Florence

Domenichino, c1627.Prado, Milan
More images, above and below,  showing how later artworks stressed the drama and emotion of the story.  The Caravaggio painting is particularly dramatic, even violent, with an agonised Isaac, an insistant angel, and an Abraham that looks rather annoyed about being interupted. 

Pieter Pietersz Lastman. C 1612. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Caravaggio, c 1601. Uffizi, Florence
A rather odd painting to conclude with. It is full summer: in the foregound, children are at play while farmers are busy shearing sheep. Behind them the harvest is well under way. So what on earth is this painting doing here?

Jacopo Bassano. C 1575. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Let's look at the distant scene in more detail. Yes, there's Abraham, about to deliver the fatal blow, and the angel trying to stop him. Bassano often dabbled with this rather strange genre, showing happy, often bucolic scenes  in the forground, and a biblical narrative tucked away almost out of sight in the background.   He may have borrowed the idea from Flemish painters such as Aertsen.
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