Moses with Pharoah's Crown; Moses with Pharoah's Crown
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Moses with Pharoah's Crown; Moses with Pharoah's Crown about 1640

On Display SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY

The subject is not definite but seems to be that of the infant Moses holding Pharaoh's crown just before trampling on it. This action symbolised his rejection of Pharoah's rule over the exiled Israelites. The pale pastel colouring and fluid, sketchy, seemingly unfinished, technique are common features of Reni's late works. He may have intended to give some details, such as the young Moses' out-stretched foot, more finish, but this is by no means certain. The visible mid-brown coloured ground helps define the shadows and half tones. The painting was probably among those left in the artist's studio when he died.

Glossary Open

Ground

The material used to coat a surface in preparation for painting or, more generally, the surface on which a drawing or painting is made.

Pastel

A drawing material made from ground pigment bound with enough gum or resin to hold it together in a stick, often smudged on paper to produce soft, atmospheric effects.

Symbolism

The representation of subjects or ideas by use of a device or motif to create underlying meaning. A literary and artistic movement that originated in France and spread through much of Europe in the late 19th century. There was no consistent style but rather an appeal to the idea of the artist as mystic or visionary and the desire to express a world beyond superficial appearances.

Ground, Pastel, Symbolism

Details

  • Acc. No. NG 2375
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 132.20 x 172.70 cm (framed: 199.39 x 158.75 x 10.16 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1979