The Finding of Moses

WAG 2854


This painting shows the finding of baby Moses by Pharoah’s daughter, Thermutis. She is identified by her crown. Made in Venice, this painting reflects a European royal court of the time, rather than an ancient biblical scene. Thermutis and her maids are richly dressed in the fashion of the period. They appear European, despite the Egyptian setting. There are also Black attendants, probably enslaved Africans who would have been present at European courts. This includes a little person next to Thermutis. Little people were also exploited at this time.They were seen as curiosities and accessories at royal courts. This is one of the artworks presented by the Liverpool Royal Institution. Liverpool’s economic development grew directly from Britain’s involvement with transatlantic slavery: the kidnapping, enslavement and forced migration of people from West Africa to the Americas and many to the Caribbean. Many members of the Royal Institution made their fortunes directly through the trade or indirectly through the wider economy. This wealth was largely how they were able to bring rare art and treasures, such as this, to the city.