Human life: anger, terror, misery, perplexity, delusion. Here’s The Adoration of the Bronze Snake, by Bronzino, a fresco in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence.
Look at the twisting bodies, and at the faces- horror and confusion everywhere:
relieved by death (perhaps it is merely stupor)
Sometimes not even by that.
Relieved by care for another, giving purpose.
This man pretends to indicate The Saviour- it is a seduction technique.
The Priest is a cypher, unreadable.
This man seeks to fight off the snake with his own strength, but clearly cannot:
The people spoke against God, so the Lord sent poisonous snakes and they died. Then they asked Moses to pray for them, and as commanded Moses set a bronze snake upon a pole, so that anyone bitten by a snake could look at it and live. The word for “poisonous” is “fiery”, seraphim in the Hebrew, a word for angel.
Here is another picture of the story. How calm and wise Moses is, how trusting the Israelites! Lillian explains it beautifully. This, therefore that. All is well. But real life seems complex, difficult, uncertain. Imagine those Medicis in their chapel, praying, contemplating humanity there, and planning their next moves.