The Forced Labor and suffering of the Israelites in Egypt. Artist: Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld. Engraver: Joch [?], signed lower right. Source: Die Bibel in Bildern, Plate 44. Click on image to enlarge it.

And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour. [Exodus 1: 13-14; King James Bible.]

The viewer first comes upon the two well-muscled men, one of whom helps the other with his burden, but then notices the Egyptian guard sitting at the lower left, another flogging a worker at the right, and a man throwing a baby off a height (in the picture’s upper right). All the women who appear throughout the scene convey the sufferings of the enslaved Israelites: the one at upper left appears stripped naked while others help the injured or sit huddled in fear or grief. The viewer's eye is drawn first to the man at the center of the illustration and then into the distance where the pyramids appear. The Forced Labor and suffering of the Israelites in Egypt is one of Schnorr’s more successful complex compositions. — George P. Landow.

You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Hathi Digital Trust Library and the Columbia University Library and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.


Die Bibel in Bildern [Picture Bible] von Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld. Leipzig: Georg Wigands, 1860. Hathi Digital Trust Library online version of a copy in the Columbia University Library. Web. 25 June 2016.

Last modified 28 June 2016