Sculptor Michelangelo/Moses - Interview with Jean Luc Angrand

Sculptor Michelangelo/Moses - Interview with Jean Luc Angrand

Cindy Dupuis (CD): Hello Jean Luc Angrand, in your book "Decoding Masterpieces", you've analyzed the statue of Moses sculpted by Michelangelo.

Jean Luc Angrand (JLA):

Yes, Moses isn't the only figure in this statue. At first glance, it appears to depict the Prophet Moses, which is accurate in the literal sense.

However, we are looking at a period in Italian art history, the Renaissance, when artists enjoyed embedding hermetic codes in their works. Often, their creations demand dual interpretations. This is the case with the extraordinary Michelangelo.

Clearly, the character of Moses in this sculpture also represents not just a biblical interpretation but also an antique one. Moses is also Hercules, the Greek demi-god, son of the supreme god Zeus.

It was also common for artists to hide zodiac signs in their works; Michelangelo did so for this piece. These codes are simple but invisible to those untrained in the hermeticism of that era and its esoteric grammar.

CD: How can we see this esoteric grammar?

JLA: Let's approach this like a math problem for clarity.

Remember when you'd confront a complex fraction in school and your teacher would ask you to break it down for easier computation.

This statue, in its basic interpretation, depicts Moses suddenly petrified in fear and admiration upon seeing the burning bush (a manifestation of God) on Mount Sinai, termed "Noun final" in Hebrew.

This mental state is called "Noun final" by Kabbalistic Judaism.

Michelangelo's statue probably inspired Botticelli's painting "Pallas and the Centaur", featuring a Centaur/Moses and Pallas/the Virgin: see the description of this painting in the book "Decoding Masterpieces".

Michelangelo's Moses turns his face towards a high window (now closed) through which sunlight was most brilliant around noon. Michelangelo likely used the zenith sunlight to play the role of the burning bush, illuminating the prophet's face.

CD: Why does Moses have horns?

JLA: In Jewish Kabbalah, horns symbolize a sudden realization of the presence of the Eternal, the Noun final. Hence, this statue sports horns as it perceives the light of the burning bush to its upper right. Moses is petrified in fear and admiration.

The burning bush was probably represented by a window that is now bricked up. Many Jews, as historian Giorgio Vasari, a friend of Michelangelo, points out, came to see this statue. Did they come on a particular day when sunlight streamed through the window, illuminating this masterpiece?

CD: You've mentioned Jesus is also depicted in this statue. How did you arrive at this conclusion?


The reason why the statue is seated is fundamental.

The Bible mentions over twenty-five times that Jesus died and resurrected to sit at the RIGHT hand of God, his father.

"Oracle of the Lord to my Lord: Sit at my right hand, and I will make your enemies a footstool for your throne" - Psalm 110(109)

What do you see? Focus. You see Moses seated?

At first glance, yes! It's definitely Moses, awestruck by the burning bush (Noun final).

But it also depicts Jesus seated next to his father in heaven. Suddenly, through this posture, Moses is transformed into Jesus—a posture which doesn't align with the Old Testament's narrative.

Jesus is observing his father, the Eternal, when he sits to his right. Hence the statue is seated on a throne, a Christ-like posture.

This peculiarity intrigued Sigmund Freud when he analyzed it.

"A famous painting by Parmigianino, in his hometown, shows Moses seated at the top of the mountain, throwing down the tablets, even though the biblical verse specifically states he broke them at the foot of the mountain. The depiction of a seated Moses doesn't correspond to anything in the Bible and appears to agree with experts who believed that Michelangelo's statue wasn't trying to capture a specific moment in the hero's life." Sigmund Freud, 1914, Michelangelo's Moses

CD: Fascinating. Are there other hidden codes?

JLA: There's also a massive Star of David in the tomb which is part of the statue, but that would be too lengthy to discuss here.

CD: All of this is in your book. Thank you, Jean Luc Angrand, for sharing your knowledge.

JLA: The pleasure is mine, Cyndi.


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