Sleeping Peasants near Fields (Parable of the Weeds)

Simon de Vlieger1650-1653

The Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland, United States

During the 1600s Protestant leaders denounced visual representations, in a belief that a strict understanding of the scriptures was the only way to achieve salvation. As a result, Protestants did not generally commission religious images. However, where religious painting did appear, they often depicted verses from the Bible with strict didactic values, such as Sleeping Peasants near Fields (Parable of the Weeds). The subject of this painting is the Parable of the Weeds from Matthew 13:24-30. Simon de Vlieger has illustrated the point in the story where the peasants sleep after sowing good seeds, and the enemy, depicted here as a satyr, mixes in bad seeds in the fields as well. When the weeds begin to grow, confused, the peasants ask the farmer if they should remove the seeds. The farmer replies that they should let the weeds and wheat grow together, and he will destroy the weeds after the harvest. The lesson of the story is that good and evil people often mix together; but in the end the pious will prevail and the wicked will be destroyed.

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  • Title: Sleeping Peasants near Fields (Parable of the Weeds)
  • Creator: Simon de Vlieger (Dutch, 1601-1653)
  • Date Created: 1650-1653
  • Physical Dimensions: Framed: 122 x 161.5 x 8 cm (48 1/16 x 63 9/16 x 3 1/8 in.); Unframed: 90.4 x 130.4 cm (35 9/16 x 51 5/16 in.)
  • Provenance: - Hon. Frederick George Lindley Meynell, -1974 Charles Meynell, sold, London, Sotheby's and Company, 03/27/1974, no. 7, pl. 7, 1774-1975 [Frederick Mont, New York), sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art, 1975
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1975.76
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Inscriptions: Signed lower left: S. DE VLIEGER 16[5...]"
  • Department: European Painting and Sculpture
  • Culture: Netherlands, 17th century
  • Credit Line: Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund
  • Collection: P - Netherlandish-Dutch
  • Accession Number: 1975.76

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