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Moses brings forth Water out of the Rock
Follower of Filippino Lippi
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This painting is one of a pair that depicts episodes from the Book of Exodus, which describes how Moses rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and accompanied them into the promised land of Canaan.

Moses brings forth Water out of the Rock is based on Exodus 17: 1–7. It shows the Israelites near Rephidim – their colourful tents are in the background to the left. Moses had led them out of slavery in Egypt, but their desperation grew as their water supply diminished. Two women on the left seem to be quarrelling, while two elderly men threaten Moses.

Tired of their complaints, Moses calls for God, who tells him to strike his rod against the rock at Horeb. Moses obeys, and water miraculously springs from the stone. In the right half of the picture, the Israelites drink from the gushing stream. More people approach from the background, carrying jugs to be filled for their onward journey to the Sinai desert.

Key facts
Artist Follower of Filippino Lippi
Artist dates about 1457 - 1504
Full title Moses brings forth Water out of the Rock
Group Two Scenes from the Story of Moses
Date made about 1500
Medium and support Oil and egg on canvas, transferred from wood
Dimensions 78.1 x 137.8 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Sir Henry Bernhard Samuelson, Bt, in memory of his father, 1937
Inventory number NG4904
Location in Gallery Not on display
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Two Scenes from the Story of Moses

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Moses brings forth Water out of the Rock and The Worship of the Egyptian Bull God, Apis depict episodes from the life of Moses. They are based on the Book of Exodus, which describes how Moses rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and accompanied them into the promised land of Canaan. The first picture shows water gushing from a rock that Moses has struck with his wooden staff; the second shows the Israelites worshipping the golden calf – possibly depicted in the guise of the Egyptian god Apis – in Moses' absence.

The two works were painted by a follower of Filippino Lippi, and their equal dimensions suggest that they belong together. Such horizontal paintings were known as spalliere, and were likely to have been inserted into furniture or wainscoting. They often have a moral message, as The Worship of the Egyptian Bull God, Apis does: on his return from Mount Sinai, Moses famously admonished the Israelites for worshipping a false idol.

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