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Moses and the Burning Bush, with Moses Removing His Shoes

Attributed to Dierick Bouts the Elder, Netherlandish (active Louvain), c. 1415 - 1475

Made in Netherlands (historical name, 15th-16th century), Europe

c. 1465-1470

Oil on panel

17 5/8 × 14 inches (44.8 × 35.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 319, European Art 1100-1500, third floor (Park Family Gallery)

Accession Number:
Cat. 339

Credit Line:
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

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Two separate but related events from the life of Moses (Exodus 3:1–5) are depicted here: Moses, a shepherd tending his flock, sees a burning bush that fire does not consume, and God appears in the bush and instructs Moses to remove his shoes because the ground upon which he stands is holy.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    Although there is no obvious division in the picture's space, Dierick Bouts has in fact depicted two sequential events from Moses's life within the verdant countryside in this compressed narrative. In the middle right, Moses, a shepherd, sits on the ground. He had been tending his flock when he noticed a burning bush that was miraculously not consumed by the fire. As he was approaching the bush, God told him to remove his shoes, which he is doing, before walking on the holy ground. In the foreground, Moses has approached the burning bush, in the midst of which God appears to instruct him to lead his people into the Promised Land. The inclusion of Moses' shepherd's staff in the two scenes, as well as the focus on the removal of his shoes, accentuates both his role as a protector of his people and his humility before God. Katherine Crawford Luber, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 166.

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