ADORATION OF THE GOLDEN CALF & 10 COMMANDMENTS

TINTORETTO: 1563

Tintoretto donated this painting to the church only in exchange for the cost (along with The Last Judgment).

This painting is divided into 2 different episodes from the Exodus in the Old Testament.

-Upper panel: Moses receiving the Ten Commandments

-The lower panel: The Israelites and the Worship of the Golden Calf

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1. GOD HANDING THE TABLETS TO MOSES

The Israelites made camp in the Sinai desert on their way to the promised land after being held in bondage in Egypt. Moses left them for 40 days and nights when he ascended Mount Sinai to be given the 10 commandments.

This upper part shows Moses with his arms raised ready to receive the tablets. God is carried by 2 angels and another 2 angels are carrying the tablets with the 10 commandments.

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2. ISRAELITES WAITING FOR MOSES TO RETURN

Women are waiting in camp, some are chatting and one is breast-feeding. Swaddling clothes are laying on the stones to dry.

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3. MOSES' BROTHER AND SCULPTURE

Since Moses was taking so long to return from the mountain, the Israelites gathered around his older brother (Aaron) and asked him to make a God who could guide them.

Aaron tells them to collect all their gold and he discusses with Bezalel, a skilled sculpture, on how to make this new God that is to take the shape of a calf.

Bezalel holds a sculpture's tool in his hand.

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4. WOMEN REMOVING GOLD JEWELRY

Women collecting gold to make the false idol.

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5. CLAY MODEL OF CALF

Adorned with gold pendants, the clay model of the calf is standing on a plank. This scene is not actually the adoration of the calf, but before it was made.

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6. PORTRAITS OF ARTISTS

Some say the 4 men carrying the calf are portraits of Veronese, Michelangelo, Titian and a self portrait of Tintoretto.