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maandag 20 januari 2014

come in

Come in
Rather strange, you’re approaching a big arch with large gates. It should be inviting and you would like to feel welcome, but… have you ever looked up at a church entrance? What you see there is not that funny: monsters tearing you apart, a large figure staring down upon you, shivering little people, but fortunately also some cheerful looking persons. How welcome are you really?

The modern spectator watches a youtube clip about the Middle Ages, or a page from a comic about the end of days when God appears to judge the good guys and the bad. This event is depicted above the western entrance of the church. Like the sun goes down in the west, that is how in the end of days the world will perish and it will be judgement day.

The pictures show the most beautiful tympanum I have seen, in Conques (Fr). This picture in relief depicts the choice between good and evil. The good person is allowed to go to heaven, guided by angels. The evil person is seized by demons, pushed into the leviathan and foltered in hell.

Later on, I would like to tell you more about illustrations regarding the church, but right now I would like to link to the statue annunciation[1] which shows an angel (besides the hotpants I already told you about) and a very typical medieval gesture: a big pointing finger. To a believer back in those days that was an obvious sign: pay attention, pay attention! I have something to tell you.

Gestures… Also a great subject in art history and I would like to link this to a fragment (left door, fourth from the top) on the church doors in Hildesheim (Germany). In this fragment God is so angry and disappointed in Adam and Eve that he points them out of paradise, angered: watch out, watch out you two, get out before it is too late. We all know the consequences, mankind has to find his way to the 21. century in pain, sweat and sorrow for the loss of paradise. We made it, but now we have to see how we can struggle on.

These doors are from the 12. century and are a masterpiece of craftmanship. The depiction is typical for the symbolic language of Roman art in which omission is important, thereby showing the essence of a story.
Even without biblical knowledge everybody can think of the matching story, just by taking a little but of time. A pointing finger, such a subtle element in depicting a piece of a story is rather interesting, isn’t it…

[1] Zie facebook verhaal van 26 dec 2013