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The Brazen Serpent
Bourdon, Sébastien
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Bourdon, Sébastien

Montpellier (France), 1616 - Paris (France), 1671

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The Brazen Serpent

1650 - 1660. Oil on canvas.
Room 002

A depiction of the Old Testament passage (Numbers 21, 4-9) in which God orders Moses to make a bronze snake on a stick. Merely looking at it would cure those repentant sinners who had been punished with snakebites for having spoken against God or Moses. In this scene we see a bearded Moses with a red tunic pointing to the snake. He is surrounded by sick Israelites who beg for forgiveness and healing.

Bourdon worked within the classisicing mode of French Baroque painting. He trained in Italy and France and became court painter to Queen Christina of Sweden. His large equestrian portrait of her is in the Museo del Prado.

Technical data

Inventory number
Bourdon, Sébastien
The Brazen Serpent
1650 - 1660
Height: 113 cm; Width: 151 cm
Legacy of Katy Brunov, 1979

Bibliography +

Bertin-Monnot, Thérèse, Poussin... [Supplement á l'addenda au catalogue de Grantoff dans le Second Cahier (décembre 1948)], Bulletin de la Societé Poussin, 2, 1948.

Luna, Juan J. J., El cuadro ''La Serpiente de Metal'' de Sebastián Bourdon, legado al Museo del Prado, Boletín del Museo del Prado, I, 1980, pp. 79-82.

Pita Andrade, J.M.; Pérez Sánchez, A. E.; Puente, J. de la, Museo del Prado. Adquisiciones 1978-1981, Ministero de Cultura, Madrid, 1981, pp. nº 6.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 81.

Luna, Juan J., Peintures françaises en Espagne aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siécles, REVUE DE L'ART, 70, 1985, pp. 96 / lám. 12.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Ministerio de Educación y Cultura, Madrid, 1996, pp. 41.

Bettagno, Alessandro, El Museo del Prado, Fonds MercatorFundación Amigos del Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1996, pp. 546.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, III, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996.

Calderón de la Barca y la España del Barroco, Sociedad Estatal España Nuevo Milenio, Madrid, 2000, pp. 300, nº 114.

Thuillier, Jacques, Sébastien Bourdon: 1616-1671 : catalogue critique et chronol, Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris, 2000, pp. 288, nº145.

Kazerouni, Guillaume, "La Francia del Grand Siècle en las colecciones españolas", en Alzaga Ruiz, Amaya: El gusto francés y su presencia en España (XVII-XIX), Fundación Mapfre, Madrid, 2022, pp. 17-35.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 1955.
''Sebastian Bourdon. / 1955 'La serpiente de metal' / (1,13 X 1,51) / Cat. 4717 / Legado de Dña. Katy Brunov de Copenhague en 1979''

Exhibitions +

Sebastien Bourdon
07.11.2000 - 04.02.2001

Sebastien Bourdon
06.07.2000 - 15.10.2000

Location +

Room 002 (On Display)

Update date: 09-04-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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