|Title||Moses and the Serpent|
15 1/4 x 18 1/8 inches
|Inscription||[bottom left] Paris...(illegible)|
|Credit line||Museum Purchase with funds provided by the Victor Morawetz Fund|
The most sophisticated American painter of his generation, Allston was born into a prominent, landholding South Carolina family. He left the Lowcountry at an early age to be educated in the North and abroad. He subsequently traveled on the continent and from 1804 through 1808 was in Italy. This sketch and that of David Playing Before Saul show his response to Venetian painting: the rapid brushstrokes, ambitious architectural settings and emphatic gestures. They were probably conceived as sketches for larger paintings which were never undertaken.
God has granted Moses the power to cast a rod on the ground and have it turn into a serpent, to signify Moses' special position and to get the attention of the Pharaoh. The wise men and sorcerers have gathered in a spaciously conceived great hall.
This text is adapted from Martha Severens "Selections from the Collection of the Carolina Art Association" published by the Carolina Art Association, 1977