About this artwork

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 Pharaoh'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.

Guido Reni

Guido Reni