Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek (Encuentro de Abraham y Melquisedec)
A befitting theme
For a series seeking to extol the Eucharist, a sacrament rejected by Reformation, to start with the meeting between patriarch Abraham and King Melchizedek, himself a clergyman, is clearly suitable. According to the biblical tale (Genesis 24, 17-24), Melchizedek, King of Salem, came out to meet Abraham, offering him bread and wine, when the patriarch was on his way back from defeating Chedorlaomer. In contrast to the frequent gory sacrifices told in the Bible, the offering of bread and wine foretells Christ in the Last Supper and reinforces the importance of the sacrament of the Eucharist.
Rubens conceived a meeting with the full show characteristic of the Baroque: the king is luxuriously dressed in stoat and Abraham as a Roman general. There are different characters bringing food and amphorae, which, judging by the inclination of one of them, may not contain liquid but would be part of the tithe the patriarch gave the king.
Origin and restoration
This is one of the first tapestries which the visitors sees when entering the church. It was restored 20 years ago by Fundación Gremios (minor changes had also been made in the 19th century). The lower selvage has Brussels’ mark – B▼B – and that of the weaver – F•V•H – Frans van den Hecker.
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 670 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 Opposite the entrance door to the temple