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According to a former student, Maureen Lara,
From first glance, one could already see the hierarchy established through the use of three separate levels as well as the scale involved in placing the relatively large sculpture of Jesus in the center enclosed in a glorifying mandorla. (The topmost level is an exception in the hierarchy since it represents the heavens; the entire band consists of "good" people. ) The symmetry of the art, to my perspective, expresses the way the world and one's fate after death revolves around how well one learns from and lives their lives according to the teachings of Jesus.According to the Brittanica,
The art overall exhibits no deep space and is stylized rather than naturalistic. Interestingly, the art is organized in such a way that the figures considered good and worthy of the kingdom of God are to Jesus' right and those who fail the last judgment because of sinfulness are to His left. The smaller size of the figures in the bottom-most band indicates those who await their judgment before the Lord. The sizes of the figures as well as their placement in the hierarchy are done in accordance to their religious importance. This can be scene in St. Peter, who is said to be the gatekeeper of Heaven; he is larger in size than the other believers as well as the angels. The main storyline of the scenes is centered around the battle between good and evil and triumph of one or the other during the weighing of souls after death. The consequences of being good are illustrated, for instance, by the faithful children joyfully playing with angels to Jesus' right. The rewards of goodness are also expressed by the graceful appearance of the angels, a persuasive element in the art that urges people to be righteous.
Christianity, further developing the concept of the Last Judgment, teaches that it will occur at the Parousia (the Second Coming, or Second Advent, of Christ in glory), when all men will stand before a judging God. In early Christian art the scene is one of Christ the judge, the resurrection of the dead, the weighing of souls, the separation of the saved and the damned, and representations of paradise and hell. Romanesque artists produced a more terrible vision of the Last Judgment: Christ is shown as a stern judge, sometimes carrying a sword and surrounded by the four mystical beasts--eagle, lion, ox, and winged man--of the apocalypse; the contrast between paradise and hell is between the awesome and the ferocious. In the gentler, more humanistic art of the Gothic period, a beautiful Christ is shown as the Redeemer, his right side undraped to reveal the wound of the lance, and both wounded hands raised high in a gesture that emphasizes his sacrifice. He is surrounded by the instruments of his Passion--cross, nails, lance, and crown of thorns. The intercessors are restored, and the scene of the Judgment is treated with optimism. In the 16th century, Michelangelo produced a radically different version of the Last Judgment in his fresco in the Sistine Chapel in Rome (1533-41): a vengeful Christ, nude like a pagan god, gestures menacingly toward the damned.
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