Sacrifice of Mosaic Law (Sacrificio de la Ley Mosaica)

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Sacrifice of Mosaic Law (Sacrificio de la Ley Mosaica)

Among the four cloths of the series foretelling the Eucharist –Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek, Harvesting of the manna, Elijah and the angel– this is the only episode showing a gory sacrifice. The composition is set through a clear diagonal, starting in the lower left side and climbing up to the other end. It shows a procession of many characters bringing presents and animals to the altar where the priest, holding a knife, has just sacrificed a calf, still plenty of blood gushing from its neck.



A sacrifice typical of the Old Testament

Rubens made apparent that this was a sacrifice typical of the Old Testament, with elements such as the Ark of the Covenant and the explicit introduction of Jewish characters in the upper part. Although it foretells the Eucharist, they are not equivalent, and that would be why the painter may have wanted to conceal this behavior, common among Israelites. He thus made this scene the less theatrical of all: he represented many characters which hinder a clear reading, and placed great importance in the architecture, taking the focus away from the story. Besides, the location of the Ark of Covenant on the opposite end to the sacrifice altar introduces two visual focuses which make the attention of the spectator swing, avoiding focusing on just the immolation.


Change of location

It is currently found in the nave of the temple, but it was placed at the front for years, partly covering the access to the sacristy. To make passing easier, its lower part had a double cut and was folded inwards, fortunately without being destroyed. Recent restoration has brought back its original aspect.


Series Apotheosis of the Eucharist

Cartoon Cartoon copied from an original by Rubens

Manufacture Brussels. Manufacture by Frans van den Hecke. Mid 17th c.

Fabric Silk and wool, 7/8 warps per cm

Size 405 x 650 cm

Location Church of San Millán de la Cogolla, Oncala (Soria)

Origin A donation by Bishop Juan Francisco Ximénez del Río, c. 1800

Exhibition Hangs from the church’s nave, opposite the entrance door



MAZ



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