Details of the Conques Tympanum (PJ McKey)

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.

The tympanum at Conques

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.

Angel watching demons consume a sinner (Photo by PJ McKey)

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.

Sinners being fed into the maw of hell (Photo by PJ McKey)

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.

Angel and demon weighing souls (Photo by PJ McKey)

Finally, the Devil himself makes an appearance, with another demon perched on his shoulder and whispering in his ear.

Demon talking into the Devil's ear (Photo by PJ McKey)

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.

3 thoughts on “Details of the Conques Tympanum (PJ McKey)

  1. I just left this same comment on the Dennis you referred to’s page, but I thought I would ask you as well seeing as you have taken a more detailed look at it. I was interested if you had any info or theories as to who may have carved the tympanum of Conques? I am hunting down all the leads I can pertaining to medieval depictions of Christ specifically making those gestures. Any info would be great, thank you!

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