The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of February 25, 2024

The Submersion of Pharaoh's Army in the Red Sea

The Submersion of Pharaoh's Army in the Red Sea

1514–15, printed 1549
(Italian, c. 1488–1576)
printer and publisher
(Italian, 1503–1603)
Unframed: 40 x 55 cm (15 3/4 x 21 5/8 in.)
Location: not on view

Did You Know?

Titian may have identified the Egyptians in this composition, drowned in the Red Sea as they pursue the fleeing Israelites, with the League of Cambrai, a military alliance formed by the major powers in southern Europe and a menace to his hometown of Venice.


This composition is made up of twelve separately printed woodcuts to create one image in grand scale. The size rivals that of a history painting, and, unlike most prints, the composition would have been hung on the wall. This is confirmed by the complete lack of complete impressions from the date of the print's creation—around 1515. This and all extant impressions date from a later edition, published in 1549 by the publisher Domenico dalle Greche (Italian, active 1543-1558). The woodcut is based on a drawing by the Venetian master Titian, and the bold, expressive, and irregular marks of the woodcutter imitate his drawing manner. The narrative—that of the Israelites’ persecution under the Egyptian pharaoh and his army’s fate when they followed Moses into the Red Sea—is propelled across the twelve sheets with remarkable unity. The rolling clouds and turbulent sea culminate in the solid gravity of the magnificent cliff that overhangs the shore.
  • Richards, Louise S., "The Titian Woodcut by Domenico Dalle Greche," The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Vol. 43, No. 9 (Nov., 1956), pp. 197-201, 203 197-201, 203
    Shestack, Alan, review of "Titian and the Venetian Woodcut," The Print Collector's Newsletter Vol. 7, No. 6 (January-February 1977): pp. 169-171 169
    Field, Richard. "Another Country: Ambiguities Present and Past." IN Another Country. Christiane Baumgartner, Lisa Fischman, Claire C. Whitner, and Richard S. Field, 41-54. Munich, Germany: Hirmer ; Wellesley, Massachusetts: Davis Museum, 2018. Reproduced p. 42; mentioned: p. 43
  • Connoisseurship in Italian Figural Compositions. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (October 21, 1980-February 15, 1981).
    I and Thou. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (February 21-May 27, 1984).
    Against the Grain: Woodcuts from the Collection. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (August 17-November 9, 2003).
    Love Gardens / Forbidden Fruit. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (July 2-October 29, 2023).
  • {{cite web|title=The Submersion of Pharaoh's Army in the Red Sea|url=false|author=Titian, Domenico dalle Greche|year=1514–15, printed 1549|access-date=25 February 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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