(b. ca. 1350, Haarlem, d. 1406, Dijon)

Well of Moses: Moses

Musée Archéologique, Dijon

All of those in western art, this head of Moses most resembles that of biblical tradition. The wrinkled face and heavy eyebrows, the forehead bearing horns in accordance with the tradition of mystery play actors, the bifurcated, flowing beard - all these contribute to an intelligent, awe-inspiring visage full of power. This is indeed the leader of the chosen people, their law-giver and guide. Sluter's genius explores the limits of realism in the treatment of facial expression, but despite this realism, his art has a deeply moving human pathos, and although it might be termed expressionistic, it never degenerates into caricature.