Inside the route that the French Way follows until reaching Santiago de Compostela, we find one of the most outstanding temples of the French Romanesque, the Church of Santa Fe de Conques. In previous posts we already talked about the architecture of the temple, but this time we will focus on its most sculptural aspect.
Santa Fe became a must for the thousands of French pilgrims who flocked to Santiago de Compostela and soon became one of the most outstanding temples in the region, perhaps for this reason its builders placed special emphasis on developinga most complex iconographic program, we must not forget that at that time, it was common for the majority of the population to be illiterate, so much of the indoctrination in the churches was carried out through images were either sculptural or pictorial. The most outstanding parts of the churches, such as the tympanums, became authentic canvases where the artists could develop complex programs based on the Christian faith.
The tympanum is decorated in high relief and following the guidelines of Saint Matthew's Gospel. It appears divided into three registers or superimposed levels in which the artists of the time have represented more than one hundred and twenty-four different figures according to the hierarchical perspective that is, that the characters acquire greater or lesser size based on their importance and not onits location in space.
On the upper level there is a group of angels, two of them blow the trumpets announcing the Last Judgment while the others carry elements of the passion of Christ such as the crown of thorns or the spear of Longinus. The central figure is a Maiestas Domini,Jesus Christ appears seated on a mandorla as chronocrator and cosmocrator -lord of time and space- and to his right in the intermediate level they appear: to the right the blessed, with the notable figures of Saint Peter and the Virgin Mary, while to their left appear the damned. The same scheme is followed by the figures of the lower level that opens with a cartouche that reminds of his destiny to men; In the center of this record appears Saint Michael and the devil weighing souls and while the angels guide the saved to paradise, the damned are thrown into the mouth of a dark monster like the gate of hell.