Harvesting manna (Recogida del maná)
The help of God
In this very well-known episode, manna is harvested in the middle of the desert during the endless travels of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land (Exodus 16, 9-21). It shows Moses in the foreground, raising his head and hand towards heaven, so as to make apparent where the manna is coming from. It can be seen in the tapestry as large raindrops.
At Moses' feet, one man bends to harvest the divine nourishment, while another one helps a woman put a basket on top of her head. They are followed by another woman already loaded and accompanied by a boy. The spiral arrangement of these figures links heaven and earth in a beautiful composition.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven
In addition to this aesthetic achievement, the representation enhances the importance of the Eucharist, inasmuch as Jesus Christ identifies himself with the true manna: ‘I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever’ (John 6, 48-51).
Present and absent marks
The lower selvage shows the mark of the weaver but not that of Brussels, lost as a consequence of the improper preservation, damaged in its central lower part.
Series Apotheosis of the Eucharist
Model Cartoon copied from an original by Rubens
Manufacture Brussels. Manufacture by Frans van den Hecke. Mid-17th century
Fabric Silk and wool, 7/8 warps per cm
Size 410 x 435 cm
Location Church of San Millán de la Cogolla, Oncala (Soria)
Origin A donation by Bishop Juan Francisco Ximénez del Río, c. 1800
On display Hangs from the church’s crossing, to the right of the presbytery