(b. 1477, Castelfranco, d. 1510, Venezia)

Moses Undergoing Trial by Fire

c. 1505
Oil on wood, 89 x 72 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

This is one of the earliest work by Giorgione. The subject was taken from the Jewish Antiquities by Josephus (2. 9:7) Moses was adopted by Pharaoh's daughter. One day at court Pharaoh jokingly placed his crown on the head of infant Moses who immediately threw it to the ground and trampled on it. This was taken as an omen by the courtiers that Moses would overthrow Pharaoh. To test him, two dishes were brought, one containing lie coal and the other cherries. Moses, guided by an angel, chose the coals and put them in his mouth which was burned. He was thereby proved innocent of any treasonable intent.