Jacopo Palma il Giovane
The Brass Serpent
Church of San Giacomo dall'Orio, Venice, Italy
In Numbers 21:4-9, the Israelites in the desert complained about their hardships, so God sent fiery serpents to torment them. When they repented, he told Moses to "make a brazen serpent and set it up for a sign." Those who looked on the serpent were healed. In John's Gospel, Jesus makes the episode a type of his own salvific death, saying, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up" (3:14). To emphasize this typology, Palma has the serpent raised on a cross.
Light rays emanate from Moses' forehead, following Exodus 34:29's account of his radiance when he came down from the mountain.
View this image in full resolution.
Read more about images of Moses.
Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.