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The Finding of Moses

POUSSIN, Nicolas (1594 - 1665)

The Finding of Moses

Date: 1651

Media: oil on canvas

Size: 117.0 x 178.2 cm

Acquired: 1988; Purchase; jointly with the National Gallery, London, with assistance of National Heritage Memorial Fund / Art Fund

Accession Number: NMW A 1

When Pharoah ordered the killing of all boys born to the Israelites, Moses was hidden by his mother in a basket of bulrushes on the river Nile. There he was discovered and adopted by Pharoah's daughter. In Christian theology Moses was considered a precursor of Christ and analogies were drawn between his escape and Jesus's flight into Egypt. The palace in the background is based upon one in a Roman mosaic at Palestrina, excavated a few years previously. To the right is a personification of the River Nile. The joyfulness of this event is expressed through the bright colours of the fluttering drapery and the gestures of the figures. This painting was commissioned by Reynon, a silk merchant of Lyon and subsequently belonged to Clive of India (1725-74), from whom it was inherited by the Earls of Powis.


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