c. 1120-46 CE
The West façade of Saint-Lazare contains the tympanum (1130–1135), signed Gislebertus hoc fecit (meaning “Gislebertus made this”) within the portico, which is ranked among the masterpieces of Romanesque sculpture in France The sheer size of the tympanum required it to be supported by double lintels, with a middle column to further support the sculpture. The left side of the tympanum displays the rise to the heavenly kingdom, and on the right is a portrayal of the demons in hell with an angel and a devil weighing the souls on a balance. Zodiac signs surround the arch vault, with Christ in the center portrayed as a serene figure. Christ is placed in perfect symmetrical position with a balanced composition of elongated figures. Jesus is flanked by his mother, the Virgin Mary, and his apostles cast as penitents and observers of the last judgment. St. Peter guards the gate to heaven and looks on as resurrected individuals attempt to squeeze in with the assistance of the angels.
In the Last Judgement, Gislebertus successfully integrated the modern view of heaven and hell and created a sculpture that would act as a visual educational device for individuals who were illiterate. The tympanum would have inspired terror in believers that passed beneath it and viewed the detailed high relief sculpture. Indeed, the bottom of the tympanum underneath the weighing of the souls has an inscription which states, “May this terror terrify those whom earthly error binds for the horror of the images here in this manner truly depicts what will be.” The tympanum is framed by two archivolts: the inner has carved foliage, while the outer consists of magnificently detailed medallions representing the four seasons, zodiacs, and labors of the months.
How far back?
2020 | Present