The image included here is a smaller and then more detailed photograph of Michelangelo's Worship of the Brazen Serpent and is now on display at the Ashmolean Musem in Oxford, UK. This highly respected art gallery features a fine collection of drawings from several masters, including plenty from Raphael.

This particular drawing has been used as an example of a confidently attributed piece, where there can be no doubt at all that it came from the hand of Michelangelo. Whilst underlining its artistic qualities, it also serves as a way of attributing other works by comparing the two together. As mentioned elsewhere, several pupporting to be of his work have failed to reach the standards displayed here.

Many have also linked Michelangelo's Worship of the Brazen Serpent with compositional elements of his Last Judgement fresco as well as several study drawings that he produced for it. The two for this series were in different tones of red chalk but equally held vigorous strokes from a passionate, confident artist. The detailed image at the bottom of the page gives a better understanding of this.

The story of this serpent dictates that those who follow the path of Jesus, the right path, can be forgiven for all of their past sins and live with him in glory forever. Those who do not, though, will becomes victims of fiery serpents which God will not protect them from. To link that to the content of these scenes, clearly we are witnessing the punishment of those who chose to take the wrong path and whose sins were not forgiven.

Moses would then hold a small pole which had a bronze serpent at the top. Those who stared at this serpent and obeyed the words of God would be treated more fairly and they would avoid the Serpent of Sin.

Detail of Worship of the Brazen Serpent Michelangelo