BRONZINO, Agnolo
(b. 1503, Firenze, d. 1572, Firenze)

Crossing of the Red Sea

c. 1542
Fresco, 300 x 475 cm
Cappella di Eleonora, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

In the Crossing of the Red Sea, Moses, seen crouching and gesticulating on the right in a pose highly dependent on Michelangelo's sculpture of the same subject, is about to drop his hand after having led the Israelites out of their exile in Egypt; pharaoh's defeated horsemen drawn in the returning waters. The story could refer to the Medici's rightful return to power after repeated exiles and an overt indication of the fate awaiting those who opposed them. The presence of an obviously pregnant woman to the right and behind Moses promises a fecund period of Medicean and Florentine renewal.