To test his unconditional loyalty, God has commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. But an angel intervenes before the patriarch can harm the boy, who is half lying across a sacrificial altar. A ram appears in the thorny thicket to give its life instead. As the crossed logs indicate, the happily averted sacrifice of Isaac was understood as a precognition of the death of Christ. This painting by Cornelis de Vos and Jan Wildens (who was responsible for the background landscape) may thus well have originally been intended to serve as an altarpiece in a church.
Degussa was founded in Frankfurt am Main on 28 January 1873 as a gold and silver refining company: Deutsche Gold- und Silber-Scheideanstalt, vormals Roessler AG. Nowadays, as Evonik Degussa GmbH, it is a specialised chemical concern based in Essen. The name Degussa originated as an acronym derived from ‘Deutsche Gold- und Silberscheideanstalt’. When this gift was made in 1961, the firm – still based in Frankfurt at the time – was already one of the most successful chemical companies in Germany.