Tympanum of Moissac

Tympanum of Moissac

The Tympanum of Moissac is the name of the sculpture group found in the tympanum of this French church. Thus, the tympanum, made in the XII century, illustrates the vision of St. John of Revelation or Apocalypse. It is Romanesque.
In the center of the tympanum, appear God crowned King, surrounded by tetramorfos (iconographic representation by four elements; in christian art, are the four evangelists and their symbols) and stylized silhouettes of two archangels. In two rows and the baseboards, the 24 elders of Revelation, adapting to the semicircular shape of the tympanum, turn their eyes towards the Eternal Father. The rosettes of the lintel have carved hellfire wheels. In the figure of the Eternal Father moved the folds of the garments draw a series of switchbacks.
Figures are adapted to the limitations of architectural framework. They are distributed in space according to criteria of symmetry (symbolic expression of divine order) and hierarchy (preset location by importance). The compositional unity of the scene is constructed from the looks of all the characters converge in the figure of Christ. The sides of the cover reinforce the message through reliefs with scenes from the Old and New Testament and allegorical representations of greed and lust.

            In the Romanesque period, sculpture was subordinated to the architecture and had an educator sense. Thus, it was adapted in the front, on the lintels, shafts, capitals... and narrated facts of the Bible to educate people. The mentality of the time was that if you were bad, you go to hell, there was much fear, God was vindictive and evil and had to be faithful and obey. So the theme of the Devil and the Apocalypse is something usual. But God was not evil in the sense of the Devil. He was evil because he was very severe.
In France, along with Spain, is where are the most interesting examples of Romanesque sculpture. In France, several schools that influence each other are distinguished. The School of Languedoc has been considered as one of the likely originating points of Romanesque sculpture, and to which this tympanum belongs. It has its artistic center in Toulouse. It is distinguished by its desire to move.
Romanesque art flourishes in the Christian West between the XI and XIII centuries, by country, as a result of the sum of the Roman traditions and oriental influences by the Byzantines or Arabs.

            In conclusion, this is one of the finest Romanesque sculptures. The theme of Revelation is very recurrent, and here is a clear representation of tetramorfos with vengeful God.
            It is in the Abbey of Saint-Pierre of Moissac, in France.

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