Lust at Lincoln

We were in Lincoln this last week and took the opportunity to look at the New Testa,emt section of the frieze on the west front, which is visible if you peer around the scaffolding. “It is rather a startling experience, seeing the West Front of Lincoln Cathedral in detail for the first time. Who would expect fornication, avarice and sodomy to be depicted with quite such gusto on the face of one of the nation’s most magnificent religious buildings.” So Sophie Campbell in the Torygraph back in 2008. The article goes on to sescribe the goings-on in the restored/replaced frieze in graphic detail, including all the naughty bits the Victorian guidebooks left out…

It is of course (in the original, now controversially but I think correctly consered inside) wonderful Romanesque work very reminiscent of what we have all around us in Herefordshire. I haven’t looked up the standard interpretations, but it looks like Adam and Eve are being seduced by the devil and then in his clutches; a miser or usurer (moneybag round neck) and then a pair of lechers or adulterers (genitals being nibbled!) are seized be demons; and fially Christ and the Baptist harrow Hell of those fortunate enough to be able to escape.

I still marvel at the robust energy and pictorial imagination of these twelfth century artists, who have a touch of modernity about them, before the high middle ages prettified everything (gross generalisation!).

One thought on “Lust at Lincoln

Comments are closed.