To escape Pharaoh's order to kill Israelite boys Moses was placed in an ark of bullrushes upon the Nile. Here he is discovered by Pharaoh's daughter (in yellow), who is attended by her maidens and by the baby's sister Miriam (in white), who cradles the child. Old Testament (Exodus 2: 3-9).

Painted in 1651 for Monsieur Reynon, a silk merchant in Lyon, this is the latest and grandest of Poussin's three versions of the subject. The other two are in the Louvre, Paris. It may have been the pair to Poussin's 'Christ healing the Blind' (Paris, Louvre). The Gallery's picture once belonged to the Marquis de Seignelay, whose widow is portrayed in Mignard's portrait in the National Gallery ('The Marquise de Seignelay and Two of her Sons'), and later to Clive of India.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1594 - 1665
Full title
The Finding of Moses
Date made
1651
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
115.7 x 175.3 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought jointly by the National Gallery and Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales with contributions from: J. Paul Getty Jnr (through the American Friends of the National Gallery, London), the National Heritage Memorial Fund, The Art Fund, Mrs Schreiber, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Moorgate Trusts, Sir Denis Mahon and anonymous donors, 1988
Inventory number
NG6519
Location in Gallery