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Probably by Francesco Zugno, The Finding of Moses

Key facts
Full title The Finding of Moses
Artist Probably by Francesco Zugno
Artist dates 1709 - 1787
Date made after 1740
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 53.7 × 80.7 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Alfred de Pass, 1920
Inventory number NG3542
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Finding of Moses
Probably by Francesco Zugno

According to the Old Testament, Moses was born in Egypt at a dangerous time: the Pharaoh had ordered the deaths of all newborn Hebrew boys to prevent them them from later rising up against the Egyptians. Moses' mother hid him in the bulrushes beside the river Nile, where he was discovered by the Pharaoh’s daughter, dressed here in white. She took pity on the child and saved him.

Although this story is taken from the Old Testament, the artist has given the scene a contemporary feel – the clothing of the Pharaoh’s daughter and her courtly entourage reflect eighteenth-century fashions. Likewise, the lush green plains and snow-capped mountains are reminiscent of northern Italy, not of the Egyptian desert. A narrow river leads our eye towards a town and mountains beyond.

The picture is thought to be by Francesco Zugno but was formerly attributed to Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, with whom he studied and worked, and whose larger, and more accomplished painting of the same subject is in the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh.

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