We have seen our share of images of the damned in Romanesque and Gothic sculpture, especially in Conques. But the tympanum over the central portal of the west facade of the Cathédrale Saint Etienne in Bourges has a scene that is as disturbing as anything we have ever seen in medieval sculpture.
The figures with human heads emerging from their bellies, breasts and buttocks can only be conceived to horrify. The torments of the damned are less terrifying than the figures who inflict those torments. Since this tableau can only be appreciated in detail, here is a link to a higher resolution version of the photograph. But please, don’t blame me for any nightmares that this imagery may provoke.
This is part of a series of posts featuring an amuse-bouche, a bite-sized appetizer to whet the appetite of diners. Each of these will explore a single interesting feature of medieval architecture or sculpture. To see other amuse-bouches, follow this link.