Object Image

Moses Indignant at the Golden Calf

This painting illustrates a scene in the Old Testament book Exodus. Moses was called by God to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, written on two slabs of stone. One Commandment was 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me'. However, in Moses's absence, the Israelites were worshipping a statue of a golden calf. When Moses saw this he broke the stone slabs in fury. In Blake's own mythology, a character named Urizen makes iron laws to repress Man. Blake links Urizen with God and Moses who made the laws of organised religion, which Blake wanted to see destroyed.

Credit: Bequeathed by Ian L. Phillips 1986

c.1799–1800
Tempera on canvas
380.0 x 266.0mm
T04134
Image and text © Tate Britain, 2022

Where you'll find this

Tate Britain
Permanent collection