Jacopo Tintoretto
Moses Strikes Water from the Rock

1577
Oil on canvas
Ceiling, upper hall
Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice, Italy

In the clouds in the upper register God tells Moses to strike the rock with his rod. Christian commentators took the water from the rock to be a type of Baptism (Glossa Ordinaria I, 645), and Tintoretto has made this painting the central element in a group that deals with salvation by water. Next to this painting on the ceiling is Jonah's emergence from the whale, which Jesus compared to his own coming death and resurrection (Matthew 12:40). On the wall left of the painting is his baptism in the Jordan, in which a vast number of penitents come to the water. On the right wall, the paralytic whom Jesus cured at "the probatic pool" is reimagined as Venice cured of the plague.

The commentators also relate this miracle to the Israelites' crossing of the Red Sea (ibid..), so in the background we see the drowning of Pharaoh's men and horses.

The artist pictures beams of light emanating from Moses' head, rather than giving him the traditional horns.

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Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.