Reaping and harvest: the ‘unrighteous’ are judged

The Harvest of the Earth, Jacobello Alberegno, 1360/90 - Galleria dell'Academia, Venice, Italy | The Harvest of the Earth | Blood of Christ, New Testament, Bible | From Divine to Sacred | Wine and Painting | The Virtual Wine Museum

THE HARVEST OF THE EARTH
Jacobello Alberegno (...-bef. 1397)
1360-1390

Galleria dell'Accademia, Venice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bible text (see below) is strictly adhered to. The judgement of this harvest consists of gathering the righteous. He who will lead the Final Judgement has a sharp sickle in His hand, and the angel emerging from the temple throws the sickle on the grapes in the field. The harvesters are angels whose job consists of separating the righteous from the unrighteous, the wheat from the chaff. The ripe fruits indicate that autumn, traditionally the harvest season, has arrived. The wrath of God will strike the Earth and those who have produced no fruit will have to face His judgement (Matthew 21: 33-43). The grape harvest represents this judgement of the ‘unrighteous’, and the great winepress will be reserved for those who refuse to repent. These unrepentant sinners will be thrown into ‘the great winepress of the wrath of God’.

Suggestion : Johann Sebastian Bach, Cantata BWV 105 Herr, gehe nicht ins Geritch mit deinem Knecht / Enter not into judgement with Thy servant, O Lord (1723)

My God, / When I humbly bow before Thee, / Away from Thy countenance. / I know how great Thine anger and my transgressions are, And that Thou art a swift witness / And a righteous judge. / I freely acknowledge my guilt before Thee. / And do not run the risk  / Of denying, of concealing / The errors of my soul!

Bible text: New Testament, Revelation 14:9-20

"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 

 

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs" (Revelation 14: 9-20).

THE HARVEST OF THE EARTH IN ILLUMINATIONS

The Trinity Apocalypse
The Trinity Apocalypse

Angels harvesting grapes and demons pressing them into wine, ca. 1250/60 - Trinity College Library, Cambridge, UK

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The Trinity Apocalypse
The Trinity Apocalypse

Angels harvesting grapes, devils in the grape juice, ca. 1250/60 - Trinity College Library, Cambridge, UK

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The Harvest of Nations
The Harvest of Nations

The Harvest of the Nations refers back to a passage from the Book of Revelations: 'So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.', ca. 1450 - City Library, Lyon, France

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A pictorial technique similar to that of frescoes or miniatures, illuminations were very popular during the Middle Ages. Done by hand, illuminations decorated or illustrated texts, usually on handwritten manuscripts. Until the 12th century, manuscripts were copied out in religious settings, such as abbeys, where they were used to support prayer and meditation. From the 13th century, private artisans began to produce literature for the secular market. This was due to the greater literacy that had resulted from the growing university and administrative sectors.

 

Find out more: Vine and the wine in Illuminations, From Divine to Sacred  >>

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