I thought it would be good to follow-up Dennis’s post about tympana with some photographs of the details of the tympanum at Conques so that you can see the power of the sculpture and how it relates to the symbolism of the Last Judgment.
I like that you can still see the polychrome that once embellished the ensemble. The colors may not be in keeping with modern sensibilities, but originally all of these sculptures (and even the churches themselves) were brightly painted.
It is interesting how the damned and the saved are aware of each other. In this shot of a sinner being fed to the maw of death, the demon with the club is looking at one of the saved, who looks back at him.
In this shot an angel and a demon are weighing souls and the demon, of course, is seen cheating by holding his finger on the vessel of the soul.
Finally, the Devil himself makes an appearance, with another demon perched on his shoulder and whispering in his ear.
It is amazing how much story that the artist manages to put into this small surface – the multitude of details, the vivid characters, and the drama of salvation and damnation. This is a book of stone that one can read over and over.