The contemporary author and artist, Giorgio Vasari, described it thus, “Michelangelo finished the Moses in marble, a statue of five braccia, unequalled by any modern or ancient work. Seated in a serious attitude, he rests with one arm on the tablets, and with the other holds his long glossy beard, the hairs, so difficult to render in sculpture, being so soft and downy that it seems as if the iron chisel must have become a brush. The beautiful face, like that of a saint and mighty prince, seems as one regards it to need the veil to cover it, so splendid and shining does it appear, and so well has the artist presented in the marble the divinity with which God had endowed that holy countenance.
The draperies fall in graceful folds, the muscles of the arms and bones of the hands are of such beauty and perfection, as are the legs and knees, the feet were adorned with excellent shoes, that Moses may now be called the friend of God more than ever, since God has permitted his body to be prepared for the resurrection before the others by the hand of Michelangelo. The Jews still go every Saturday in troops to visit and adore it as a divine, not a human thing.”