The payment of the denarius (El pago del denario)

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The payment of the denarius (El pago del denario)

This second part of the parable of The labourers in the vineyard shows the payment of wages. To the surprise of those who worked from the earliest hour, they receive the same wage as those labourers who came in later: a denarius. This symbolizes that all Christians will be received in Paradise equally.

«The last ones will be first»

Sitting on a bench, the steward ’p[ro]curator’ asks some boys to call the labourers. He abides by his lord’s commands: ‘So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.’ On the top left side some labourers may still be seen working, but most of them are marching already towards the house of the Pater familias, symbolized by a Gothic structure with slender columns, where they receive their denarius.

This scene is repeated on the lower left-hand side, in which the lord of the vineyard is crowned by two angels in the presence of the Holy Ghost. Those who began working early in the morning thought they would be paid more than those coming in the afternoon, but, on finding. The group to the right shows the protests; the labourers argued that ‘these last ones worked only an hour, and you made them our equals while we have endured the burden of the day and the heat’.

The chosen ones go to Paradise

Three scenes of a lesser size complete the story on the upper part. On the right, the steward shakes hands with work, which goes to a Paradise symbolized by the source of life, along with the rest of the chosen. The figure of Faith emerges in the following group, in which there is an angel; and in the centre of the panel, another woman gives crowns to the chosen.

Series The Parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard

Second tapestry in the series

Manufacture Brussels, Pieter van Aelst’s workshops?, c. 1500

Fabric Silk and wool, 6 warps per cm

Size 418 x 657 cm

Location Cathedral of Zamora, Cathedral Museum

Origen Arrived at the cathedral before 1558

On display Cathedral Museum


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