Last of all are the two semi-circular arches that enclose the area at either end. On these, the narrative appears on the archivolts.
First let us look at the one on the right. Although there is some controversy as regards the subject, most scholars believe we are looking at a depiction of the Final Judgement. In the centre are the heads of Christ and St. Michael. On the left, you can see the blessed, and on the right, the damned. Monsters and demons are enthusiastically and imaginatively martyrizing the sinners. Even the most illiterate of viewers would have understood what happened if they failed to repent their sins.
The sins punished included avarice, represented by a monster that has captured the hands of a naked man. Lust was one of the most frequently persecuted sins and here it is symbolized by a woman whose breasts are being devoured by serpents, and men whose penises are being torn off by the devil. Can you see any other sins? Look for the glutton, with a reptile around his neck so he cannot swallow, or the upside-down drunkard who is trying to drink, but cannot. Calumny is shown by the serpents biting the tongue of a sinner, while demons covered in fleeces are tearing out the tongue of another man, using enormous pincers.
The archway on the left is harder to interpret, as it is a compendium of images from the Old Testament. Amongst to her scenes, you can find ten of the twelve tribes of Israel, although they were still bound by the Jewish law of Moses, which is why they are wearing a yoke around their neck. Can you see it on the upper archivolt? The lower one may possibly contain scenes from Limbo and Purgatory.
(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Diego Laforga Marcos
Picture: Right Archivolt, The Hell. Pórtico de la Gloria
Source: Wiki Commons
Author: Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez (2005)
Licence: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Independently produced by MUSMon.com, the audio guide for the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela offers you a wide-ranging, light-hearted and educational tour of one of the most visited monuments in Spain. There are 90 minutes of commentary, illustrated with over 62 high-quality images, so you won’t miss a single detail during your visit.
Whether you are a pilgrim or a visitor, we will guide you on a journey through more than one thousand years of art and history, +info