(b. 1475, Caprese, d. 1564, Roma)

Moses (detail)

San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome

From the 12th century, Moses is occasionally shown with horns (e.g. Claus Sluter, Well of Moses, 1395-1403, Charterhouse at Champmol, Dijon; Michelangelo, Tomb of Pope Julius II, 1513-16, San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome). These are explained by a mistranslation in the Latin Vulgate (not followed in the Authorized Version of the Bible). In the Book of Exodus (34:29-35), it is written that Moses' face shone brightly after witnessing God's Glory on Mount Sinai and returning with the second Tables of Law. St Jerome translated the Hebrew verb for shine, similar to the word 'geren' (horn), by 'cornatus', horned: "Videbant faciem Moysi esse cornatum (They saw that Moses' face was horned)."