GISLEBERTUS
(active 1100-1150)

Tympanum of the main portal

1130-45
Stone, width 640 cm
Cathedral of Saint-Lazare, Autun

The sculpted tympanum is an important innovation of Romanesque sculpture. It began to be used extensively for figurative sculpture in the first quarter of the twelfth century, particularly in France and northern Spain. Gislebertus's tympanum at Autun Cathedral, representing the Last Judgment, is an example.

On the tympanum of the west portal of the cathedral of Saint-Lazare, the Last Judgment is represented. It is dominated by the judging Christ in his aureole, which here assumes enormous dimensions (the height of the figure of Christ is 305 cm). To his right appear apostles, angels, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and Mary. To his left we see dramatically rendered weighing of souls, where an angel carefully holds a scales with the chosen ones.

To the right of Christ is St Michael, who weighs the risen souls, represented as manikins, in a giant scale which a small demon is trying to tip. To the left of Christ is St Peter, who welcomes the souls of the blessed in heaven. In and below the lintel, Adam and Eve can be identified among the blessed, together with a monk and pilgrims from Jerusalem and Santiago di Compostela. These last are identifiable by their respective emblems of a cross and a scallop shell.