Pierre-Joseph Maader (Geneva, active in France in the second half of the 18th century - )
God Teaching the Law to Moses
dedicated and signed lower left: Dedié à Mr P. Dejoux, par son / très humble & respectueux serviteur / Maader Delinavit, and bottom centre: .EXODE. chap. XXXIII. v.st 21.22.
black and white chalk, stump, pen and ink, on blue prepared paper
440 x 590 mm
Private Collection, France
This drawing is by the Swiss copper engraver Pierre-Joseph Maader. Maader was one of a number of Swiss artists who helped revive the market of ‘Les Indiennes’ textiles in France during the late 18th century. He was brought from his native Geneva by fellow émigrés, the Petitpierre brothers, Simon-Louis and Ferdinand, to work at the Petitpierre et Cie textiles factory in Nantes. Although the company had a vast output, at one time producing a quarter of all Nantes’ fabrics, only a small number of textile designs bearing Maader’s signature are known, and this is the sole drawing attributed to his hand.
The biblical inscription of the present drawing refers to a moment in Exodus (33:21-22) when Moses pleaded God for guidance and protection in leading his people after they had angered him. In the passage, God explains to Moses how he will be present but remain unseen by the prophet. Correspondingly, in the drawing God is embodied as the light concealed behind the clouds.
And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by.