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Workshop of Frans and Jan-Frans van den Hecke, The Gathering of Manna
Biblical - Historical - Mythologic
17th century
Material and technique
wool and silk
405 x 372 cm
Alessandro Zuccari
The stately composition creates the trompe l’oeil effect of a tapestry within a tapestry. The scene appears as if depicted on a wide panel hanging from an entablature supported by two spiral columns resembling the ones by Bernini in St. Peter’s. In the centre, some people are busy gathering manna in large baskets under the watchful and benedictory gaze of Moses.
The tapestry is a late version of one of a twenty-piece set woven before the end of 1628 from sketches by Pieter Paul Rubens, which had been commissioned by Isabel Clara Eugenia, daughter of King Philip II of Spain. The original tapestries were made to grace the Convent of Las Descalzas Reales in Madrid, where they remain to this day. The Gathering of Manna, of which the sketches, final design and cartoon are still extant, reveals very clearly the degree of thought and attention that Rubens applied to his study of Italian art during his long stay in the country:  the female figure on the right is evidently based on the canephora painted by Raphael in the Vatican Rooms. Of the many reproductions, with variations and simplifications, that were made of the Madrid originals, this tapestry was woven in Brussels after 1630 in the workshop of Frans van den Hecke and his son Jan-Frans.
The Gathering of Manna
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