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Antonio De Bellis, The Finding of Moses

Key facts
Full title The Finding of Moses
Artist Antonio De Bellis
Artist dates active 1630 - about 1660
Date made 1645-55
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 91.5 × 131.4 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1959
Inventory number NG6297
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Finding of Moses
Antonio De Bellis

Two women retrieve a baby from a basket floating in a river, while four others look on from the bank. According to the Old Testament story (Exodus 2: 5), the infant Moses was hidden by his mother in a reed basket on the River Nile to save him from Pharaoh’s order that all the male children of the Israelites should be killed. He was discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter, who took him into her care.

The elongated proportions of the figures, facial types, and the sensitive use of colour are all characteristic of De Bellis. They are also closely related to the works of his Neapolitan contemporary Bernardo Cavallino, to whom this painting was once attributed

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