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The Finding of Moses

Flemish painter Hendrik de Clerck was a proponent of the Mannerist style, characterized by graceful, elongated figures and vibrant coloring. He spent much of his career as a court painter for the archdukes of Brussels, and it has been suggested that de Clerck’s paintings served as visual propaganda for these rulers. In this scene of the Finding of Moses, the centrally placed pharaoh’s daughter, who saves Moses’s life by commanding his mother to feed the infant, may be intended to symbolize royal benevolence and good government. Although this Old Testament story takes place in Egypt, de Clerck has set the scene in a northern European forest, which appealed to the taste of his Habsburg patrons.

Hendrik de Clerck
Flemish, ca. 1570–1630
The Finding of Moses
ca. 1600–20
Oil on panel
Approx. 55 ¼ x 66 in. (140.3 x 167.6 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. Stanley S. Wulc, 66.24