The Story of Moses (The Israelites gathering Manna)

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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According to the Book of Exodus, the Israelites, having escaped slavery in Egypt, feared famine as they wandered the desert. They complained to Moses, so God sent down a heavenly food, manna, which fell from the sky each morning but melted in the sun. Here, they gather the manna up into pots, jars, bowls and even pinafores. This painting on linen canvas – a rare survival from the Renaissance – was probably originally in a small chapel or oratory in Ferrara, or possibly in the house of one of the Jewish community there. It is one of a group of eight similar paintings showing subjects from Genesis and Exodus, two of which are in the National Gallery’s collection. Given the fragility of painting on linen, both this and The Dance of Miriam are in reasonable condition, although they were probably originally brighter: both are covered with surface dirt and some of the pigments have deteriorated.

The National Gallery, London



The Story of Moses (The Israelites gathering Manna)


after 1508


Glue on linen


H 119.3 x W 78.7 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Layard Bequest, 1916

Work type



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