Oil on canvas, 216cm by 269cm. In a carved and gilded frame.
The painting was purchased by John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700), whilst in Italy on the Grand Tour.
It first appears in a Burghley Inventory in 1738: ‘The Red Velvet Dining Room the Children of Israel come over the Red Sea, a Man kneeling upon one Knee taking up an Ewer with his Back towards you, a Woman with a Child upon her Knee, Men and Women loaded with Sacks and other things, a Man on Horsback in Armour, at a Distance Moses and his Rod, Pharoah and his Host drowning in the Red sea, by Ferrarese.’
The 1763 Inventory rather less wordily records: ‘The dining room..the passage of the children of Israel over the Red Sea by Ferrarese.’
Piola was the leading artist in Genoa in the second half of the 17th Century, painting frescoes for churches and palaces and canvases for private collectors.
He formed part of a prolific family studio.