Dormition of the Virgin, Coronation of the Virgin, Tympana, South Transept Portal, Strasbourg Cathedral

Gothic (date?)

This Gothic Cathedral, built from 1190-1439, is dedicated to the Virgin (as many French Gothic cathedrals are). The double doorway of the south transept depicts in the tympana two scenes commonly used to honor her--her death and her coronation in Heaven. The lintels below (not pictured) depict her burial and assumption into heaven.

The Dormition of the Virgin

According to the Golden Legend, the Virgin died at age 60, surrounded by the Apostles who had been miraculously transported to her deathbed from all parts of the world. Christ too, depicted with a halo, is in the center, prepared to take her soul (the small child in his hand) to Heaven. This lyrical scene depicts various figures in sorrow. (See also the west front tympana at Notre Dame, Paris.)


The Coronation of the Virgin


Solomon, South Transept, Strasbourg Cathedral

This statue has been restored after it (and several others) were pulled down during the French Revolution. It depicts at the base a story widely illustrated in medieval art--the Judgment of Solomon (I Kings 3:16-28). One prostitute with an apparently dead baby pulls at the baby of the other prostitute. Solomon holds the sword with which he threatened to kill the live baby, thus convincing the real mother to relinquish her child in order to save its life.

See also South Transept sculptures: Church and Synagogue / Western Facade, North Portal: The Life of Jesus, tympanum, and the Virtues Vanquishing the Vices, jamb statues / Western Facade, South Portal: Last Judgment, tympanum, and the Wise and Foolish Virgins, jamb statues.

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