Giorgione 1477 – 1510

The Test of Fire of Moses

oil on panel (89 × 72 cm) — 1500-1501 Museum Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Giorgione biography

This work is linked to Exodus 4:10

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Tags: Moses

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A traditional Jewish story tells of Pharaoh putting his crown on little Moses' head. The child throws it on the ground and trampled on it. It was seen as a sign that one day Moses would overthrow Pharaoh. In order to find out whether Moses indeed was dangerous, he had to be tested.

Two dishes were held before him: one with cherries (or gold, in another version of the story), and one with glowing pieces of coal. The kid chose the coal and put a piece in his mouth, severely burning himself.

To Pharaoh this proved Moses' innocence.

The story is not in the Bible. It would explain the speech impediment Moses mentions in Exodus 4.

Giorgione made this painting together with a depiction of Solomon's judgment, another test of sincerity.

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