Netherlandish Painters
The Fall of Manna

1515-20
Oil on wood
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City (17.190.18c)

Many paintings on this theme show women collecting the manna from the ground in the form of tiny flakes, but here it comes as large snowflakes and the people gather it merely by holding up their baskets. Morning is suggested by the color of the sky in the background. At left, Moses holds his rod and watches the manna fall. His "horns" are only lightly suggested.

This panel is the inner side of the right wing of a triptych. When the triptych is open, one can read an inscription that runs across all three panels and emphasizes the typological relation between Melchizedech's sacrifice and the Last Supper: CŒNANTIBUS ILLIS ACCEPIT IESUS PANEM BENEDIXIT AC FREGIT DEDIDQUE DISCIPULIS SUIS DICENS, "And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, blessed it, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said" (Matthew 26:26). There seems to be no room for what he said, either here or on the open state of the triptych, which pictures Adam and Eve taking the forbidden fruit, a sort of antitype of the Eucharist.

The museum's online description of the triptych states that at least three painters were involved in its creation. The description includes a brief bibliography. As of 2019-05-08 it was at this url.

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More of Moses

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