Thursday, 28 January 2010

Not a drum was heard...

Dave has been coming up with some interesting stuff about Spanish religious imagery, mostly a bit hyperbolic and in-your-face for northern European tastes.


I expect it would have been difficult to include the above in the exhibition he features. It's a Last Judgement. It's over a doorway in Corunna, at the tip - practically - of north-west Spain. I took this photo when we were in Corunna a year or two ago, but I can't make much of it. I can see a scales, like the astrological sign for Libra, in which I suppose the good or bad deeds of the departed are weighed and the relative warmth of his/her eternal destination is decided accordingly. (Yes, I KNOW about Purgatory, but I just wanted to simplify things for the multitude of people who come here with only Pt 1 of Doom for Dummies: A Practical Guide on their lifestyle bookshelves.) Perhaps you can see other elements?

Memorial to Sir John Moore, Corunna, Galicia, Spain

Sir John Moore, a fine general whose revolutionary ideas on military training swung the terrestrial balance of the Napoleonic Wars in Britain's favour, holed up in Corunna for several days in January 1809, having led a strategic retreat there in the earlier days of the Peninsular War with first Napoleon and then Marshal Soult snapping at his heels. It wasn't quite a Dunkirk situation, but he had to wait longer than he would have wanted for the navy to arrive to evacuate his troops. I don't expect he had very much time to wander about the old town looking at architectural sculpture, but the Last Judgement would certainly have been there at the time when, almost as the last troops were being evacuated, he was killed by a French shell. It took some hours for him to die, and who knows what his last thoughts may have been? All I recall of it is that he asked to be remembered to a brother officer's sister.


Cathedral of St Cecilia, Albi, France: The Last Judgement


In Albi cathedral, which isn't all that far from where we live, there's an extraordinary Last Judgement. Sinners are classified into whichever of the Seven Deadly Sins they have over-indulged in, and we can see the doom awaiting - if you blow the image up - the greedy, the proud, the angry, the lustful, the avaricious, the envious and . . . hang on, there's one missing. The truth is that the central doorway was cut in the wall after the Last Judgement was painted on it, destroying the central one. The missing deadly sin is sloth. Why, that's very one I'm afflicted by most. These days, anyway. But if they abolished it, at Albi at any rate, maybe I'll get away with it.

9 comments:

Hector said...

In the words of Private Fraser: "We're all doooomed", or at least they were in ancient Albi and Narbonne. Doom certainly awaits the sinners in the extraordinary "retable" discovered hidden behind some panelling in Narbonne Cathedral some years ago. Carved in stone and coloured with paint (some still visible) it depicts the mouth of hell as envisaged in the mid-14th century. Some of the poor sinners and a description of the "retable" can be seen at http://www.corbieresweb.com/francais/retable.htm or a larger image at http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/3124223.jpg

Dave said...

I expect Dan Brown could get a novel or two out of the symbolism displayed in this post.

Sarah said...

Eeeeew there's a very scary thriller about the seven deadly sins....

I've always wanted to walk that pilgrim route...ummmm the way of St James? sorry random thoughts flitting through my head!

Christopher said...

Hector: Welcome aboard! Yes, I've checked those links. Very interesting. Thank you!

Dave: If D.Brown could do it, you could do it goodness knows how many times better. You could serialise ot another blog. You could start tonight...

Sarah: I'll come back to you when I've had supper...

Christopher said...

Sarah:

*wipes last traces of egg from mouth*

I don't suppose you're thinking of that black comedy (with Vincent Price?) about an actor who murders his critics in the fashion of whichever Shakespeare play they have panned him in? I'd really like a DVD of it but I can't remember what it's called. Now I come to think of it, I can't remember if there's anything about the 7DS in it, just Robert Morley being force-fed his 'children', i.e. his two poodles. I expect I'm in a terrible muddle and need to go to Santiago de Compostella to clear my mind.

Z said...

Theatre of Blood.

Is yours Se7en, Sarah?

Christopher said...

Ah, yes, of course. Thank you, Z. I might have expected it to be fresh in your mind after your recent hospital experience.

*passes conch to Sarah*

Rog said...

This has all gone way over my head. I feel like I'm standing in a hole.

This must be how Dave feels when I mention Lady GagGa.

Christopher said...

Who?
Who?

Sorry, Rog. No intention to obfuscate.

Z: Thanks again. DVD of 'Theatre of Blood' ordered. I see there is a Seven Deadly Sins element in it.