Shrine with Plaque Depicting the Last Judgment
DimensionsWork : 14 1/2 x 13 1/4 x 4 in. (36.83 x 33.66 x 10.16 cm)
Credit LineGift of David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton in memory of Alyce T. Williams
LabelThe Last Judgment refers to the belief held by many Christians that Jesus Christ will one day return to earth to judge the souls of both the living and the dead. Those who followed Christ's teachings and were kind, compassionate and charitable will be saved and granted a place in Heaven, while those who violated Christ's teachings and were hateful, selfish and cruel will be condemned to everlasting torment in Hell. This momentous event is vividly portrayed on the carved alabaster plaque in this small shrine. At the top of the plaque, the risen Christ appears seated on a rainbow with a scepter in his hand and his feet resting on an orb to signify his dominion over the entire world. He is flanked by assorted apostles, saints and prophets as he listens to the supplications of his mother Mary and John the Baptist who kneel at his feet. Two angels flying in the clouds just below Christ blow ram's-horn trumpets to alert the world that the day of judgment is at hand. The left middle section of the image depicts more angels ushering those who have been saved toward a gate where Saint Peter waits to admit them into Heaven. The right middle section depicts devils with horns and wings dragging and pushing those who have been condemned by Christ toward a fiery cave leading to Hell. The figures on the ground at the bottom of the plaque are people who have just been resurrected and are about to learn their fates.