- Reference number
- Veronese, Paolo
- Moses saved from the waters
- Ca. 1580
- 57 cm x 43 cm
- On display
- Colección Real (Real Alcázar, Madrid, pieza consecutiva donde se vestía sSu majestad, 1686, [nº 548]; Real Alcázar, Madrid, salón de los Espejos-cuartos principales, 1700, nº 14; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, paso de tribuna y trascuartos, 1772, nº 27; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, pieza de tocador, 1794, s.n.).
This scene from the Old Testament (Exodus II, 5-6) depicts the moment when the Pharaoh's daughter and her ladies-in-waiting remove from the Nile River the basket in which baby Moses was placed by his Hebrew mother in order to save him from the slaughter of boy children ordered by that ruler.
Outside the biblical text, Veronese has included a dwarf in the scene. Dwarves were often present at sixteenth-century European courts, and the scene takes place in a country setting around the Venetian villas from the artist's time. Rarely, in the history of painting, has a religious subject been treated so profanely.
This painting has been identified as possibly being the one on that subject that hung in the home of the Marquis and Marchioness della Torre in Venice during the seventeenth century, although another by Veronese on the same subject was in the Gonzaga collection in 1627. The present work was first listed in Spain during the 1666 inventory of the Alcázar of Madrid.