Etienne Allegrain

Landscape with Moses Saved from the Nile

Landscape with Moses Saved from the Nile
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Author: Etienne Allegrain
Landscape, Painting, Oil on canvas, 88x114.8 cm
Origin: France, Last quarter of the 17th - first third of the 18th c.

According to tradition, the pharaoh was frightened at the way that the population of the Israelites multiplied in the land of Egypt and ordered the midwives to kill all newborn Hebrew boys. Moses's mother hid him for three months and when she could no longer keep the infant in hiding, she put him in a basket and set it adrift on the Nile, where he was eventually found by the pharaoh's daughter and taken to be raised at the palace.

Allegrain's works continue the stylistic line of so-called ?heroic landscapes? created by Poussin. In these paintings nature is majestic and calm, while the structures included in the landscape are ancient temples, altars and monuments from Classical Antiquity. In the Landscape with Moses Saved from the Nile, the artist wishes to stress that the action is taking place in Egypt and he therefore has placed a pyramid and a palm-tree in the centre of the canvas; most likely he took the images of other buildings from etchings and from archeological descriptions of Roman monuments.

Allegrain's works were well liked by the public and were greatly in demand. Devoid of philosophical content, painted in a light and free manner, they were perfectly suited to decorating Parisian hotels and the country houses of the aristocracy.

Personage: Moses
Style: Classicism
Source of entry: Collection of Prince G.A. Potyomkin, St Petersburg, 1792
Theme: The Bible and Christianity

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