Sunday, May 22, 2016


The Devils' Cauldron

Arthur Symons (1865-1945), Studies in Seven Arts (New York: E.P. Dutton and Co., 1907), p. 168 (on the tympanum over the central doorway of Bourges Cathedral):
[T]riumphing devils thrust the sinners, naked, along the road to the bottomless pit. One devil has a second face in his stomach, like the monsters of the Cologne school of painters; another has a tail which ends in a dog's head, reaching forward through his legs and biting the legs of a man in front. Devils with faces full of horrible mirth lift up men and women on their shoulders, and stamp them down into a boiling cauldron; you see the flames underneath, and two devils blowing the bellows. Two toads climb up outside the cauldron; one is in the act of crawling into the mouth of a man, while the other sucks at the breast of a woman. There is a kind of cheerful horror in all these figures in pain; they are rendered calmly, without emotion, without pity.

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