Anthony Van Dyck 1599 – 1641
Moses and the Brazen Serpent
oil on canvas (205 × 235 cm) — 1620
8. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
The Israelites complain about the long journey through the desert. God immediately punishes them for this lack of faith: they are attacked by poisonous snakes, and many die. The people admits to Moses that they have sinned and beg him to ask forgiveness from God.
God tells Moses to make a brazen serpent and put it on a stick. Everyone who was then bitten by a snake and looked at the brazen serpent, would not die.
There is some confusion about the attribution of this painting. It is signed in the lower right corner with 'Rubens'. Yet the Prado claims it really is a work by the young Anthony van Dyck.