11 Ways To Show Moses Breaking the Tablets

An Artistic List for the 17th of Tammuz

Fast Break: Charlton Heston shows how the tablets get broken.
Fast Break: Charlton Heston shows how the tablets get broken.

By Menachem Wecker

Published June 24, 2013.
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Cosimo Rosselli, The Handing Over of the Tables of the Law (1481-83, Sistine Chapel)

In this panorama landscape, the Florentine painter depicts Moses — identifiable by his golden tunic and dark green robe — at least three times. Atop the painting, a kneeling Moses (having shed the robe) receives the Tablets from a divine entourage; horned with light rays, Moses presents the Commandments to the Israelites in the bottom left corner; and in the bottom central position, as Joshua looks on, Moses lifts one of the Tablets above his head ready to heave it. Whereas Rembrandt painted Moses in an abstracted space, Rosselli’s larger landscape contains dozens of figures, as well as trees, tents, the Golden Calf, castles, a seascape, and the rarely depicted scene of the Israelites being forced to drink the ground-up Calf dust.


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