The Crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites

WAG 6352


A drawing in pen and ink, with blue and brown washes, depicting an Old Testament subject taken from Exodus XIV, showing the Israelites who have just crossed the Red Sea and now resting. The drawing shows a multitude of Israelites in several planes of the image, fading dramatically after the first plane, against the distant background of mountainous landscape with trees. On the left foreground the Israelites are examining the body [bones] of the patriarch Joseph in his coffin, while in the centre others are checking on the treasure they had carried from Egypt on camels, including peacocks and urns. In the right middle-ground, more figures point towards off-right, presumably towards the pursuing Pharaoh and his troops as they drown in the sea. The image of Pharaoh's troops would have been in the right hand section of the drawing that had been cut away. The foreground displays an intense use of the brown wash, strongly distinguishing it from the faint distant view across the hilly and mountainous landscape, which is covered in pale blue wash. The drawing shows five vertical folds.