Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Last Judgment

One of the stained-glass windows of the cathedral of Bourges shows scenes the Last Judgment.

Here, the souls are thrown into the mouth of the Leviathan. The scene is conjured with all the vividness of the 13th century imagination.


K_tigress said...

Fascinating stuff. It sort of looks like a giant sea dragon in the way the artist interprets it. I always imagined that it would look more hippo like as they describe it in the bible.

Erik Bongers said...

Heavy black lines and vivid colours, monsters eating people...this could be published by eiter Marvel or DC Comics.

My Pen Name said...

on that note:

Shocking news from Oxford: you can't play a flute with your bottom

Musicologists in Oxford have made exact replicas of instruments featured in the The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch. And, apparently, they sound 'horrible'

Nick said...

K_tigress - I thought it was the Behemoth (the Leviathan's land based 'counterpart') described as a hippo?

I've always found these old illustrations fascinating, especially the horrific ones, because there's some disparity between the expressions of the creatures and what it is they're doing. It makes it rather unsettling.

James Gurney said...

Nick and K Tigress--

I based the interpretation on the placard beneath the window in the cathedral, which quotes from the Epistle to the Romans 2,6. It says “The damned are thrown into the mouth of the Leviathan and the saved are led to the bosom of Abraham.”

Good point about the smiling demons. You're right--that creates an odd effect.

Erik, Absolutely--those stained glass windows are loaded with mind-boggling stories, and in the case of the 13th century people who saw them, I bet a lot of them couldn't read, so the pictures were incredibly important.

Nick said...

James, thanks for clearing that up. It's interesting knowing the damned are fed into it's mouth. That's made me see what I initially thought were many tongues as flames.