Chartres Cathedral facade Christ in Majesty, from the Royal Portal at Chartres
More images of Chatres Cathedral from the Great Buildings website.
The Royal Portal is similarly divided into three parts, and the carvings around each door are related to one
another. The tympanum over the main portal shows Christ in majesty at the Second Coming; this is a
variation of the Last Judgment theme. Instead of showing Christ judging all people, the tympanum shows
him surrounded by the four beasts that represent the Evangelists (a man or angel is St. Matthew, the lion
is St. Mark, the ox is St. Luke, and the eagle is St. John). The reliefs above the flanking portals also show
scenes of Christ appearing in glory: on the right is the Virgin and Child enthroned (Christ’s first appearance
on earth) and on the left is the Ascension of Christ (the moment when Christ was taken bodily into heaven
after he rose from the dead).
Below the lunettes, jamb statues stand in rows on either side of each door. The Old Testament kings and
queens (who were often imagined to be the kings and queens of France) give the doorway its name: the
Royal Portal. The statues are tall and narrow like the columns to which they are attached. Their feet point
downward and are set on conical bases. Although they are more three-dimensional and rounded, these
statues still show the stretched proportions and linear patterns of the Romanesque style.