The Trials of Moses, 1482 by Sandro Botticelli

The Trials of Moses is the second fresco on the southern wall of the Sistine Chapel. It is part of the series on the life of Moses. This fresco shows a number of events that preluded the journey from Egypt.

On the right is Moses killing the Egyptian who had harassed a Hebrew, and fleeing to the desert. In the next episode Moses fights the shepherds who were preventing Jethro's daughters (including his future wife, Zipporah) to water their cattle at the pit, and then takes the water for them. In the third scene, in the upper left corner, Moses removes his shoes and then receives from God the task to return to Egypt and free his people. Finally, in the lower left corner, he drives the Jews to the Promised Land. Moses is always distinguishable in the scenes by his yellow dress and the green cloak.

On the wall opposite to this fresco Botticelli painted his Temptation of Christ. Both works can be seen as preludes: the Temptation shows what preceded Jesus' preachings, and these Scenes show what preceded Moses' mission.