Sir Godfrey Kneller
Elijah and the Angel 1672

Artwork details

Sir Godfrey Kneller 1646–1723
Elijah and the Angel
Date 1672
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1765 x 1486 mm
frame: 2174 x 1900 x 150 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1954
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1650

Display caption

Born in Germany, Kneller trained in Amsterdam with Ferdinand Bol and, probably, Rembrandt. He settled permanently in England in 1676, becoming the leading portrait painter of his day.
This rare example of a narrative painting by Kneller was done before he arrived in this country, and is very Dutch in manner and subject. He valued it enough to bring it to Britain and display it at his house at Whitton, Middlesex.
It depicts the Old Testament prophet Elijah who fled into the wilderness to escape the vengeance of Queen Jezebel. Hungry, he fell asleep under a juniper tree. He was woken by an angel who showed him the loaf of bread and vessel of water miraculously sent by God to save him from starvation.

August 2004

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