Oil on canvas. 229cm by 274cm.
The Old Testament story of the Finding of Moses was popular with Venetian artists.
It records the moment when the baby Moses was found in a basket amongst bullrushes on the River Nile by Pharaoh’s daughter.
Her father had ordered the murder of all Israelite boys and the baby’s mother had woven the basket and placed it in the river, hoping that he would thus escape Pharaoh’s soldiers.
Her daughter Miriam followed its progress and when the baby was discovered, she offered her mother’s services as a nurse, so that mother and baby were reunited.
John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700) had purchased this painting by 1684 and it appears in the 1688 Burghley Inventory which records: ‘2 large peices in Guilt frames (viz) } Soloman’s Idolatry, Moses in ye Rushes} by Carlo Loti.’
The German-born painter trained with his artist father Johann Ulrich Loth (1590-1662), later moving to Venice, where he was to spend most of his life and where he became known for his large history paintings of subjects taken from both mythology and the Old Testament.
He worked closely with Pietro Liberi (1605-1687), an artist with a colourful background whose work was also much favoured by the 5th Earl.