Michelangelo's "Moses"

This magnificent statue, part of a larger monumental montage, was created by the Master in about 1505, when he was 30 years old. Moses the law-giver is seen as a muscular, dominating character which he almost certainly was - probably for a major part of his life. The famous (or infamous?), "horns" coming out of his head are really surprising. The story is well-known, of course: we are told in Exodus, that when Moses came down from Mount Sinai, after meeting with the Lord, ".... his skin shone" Exodus XXXIV:35. The Hebrew word 'keren' used quite correctly in the text is translatable as either 'beam', in the sense of a light-ray - which was really intended - or as a horn. More than that - the grammatical structure of the sentence is such that the word is not used as a noun! Why it should have been interpreted thus by Renaissance Italy is strange; the context, the reaction of the Children of Israel should surely have given sufficient indication as to the true meaning.

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