Religious European art was originally intended to visually educate the masses to be pious; this became so because most people were not able to read, or understand Latin, which was the language mass was presented in. Even if some people were able to read, no one could afford Illuminated Manuscripts or Bibles because they were outrageously expensive.
These two figures were on each side of the main door out of the cathedral. Our tour guide told us that it was the Devil on one side and his mother on the other. They were there in order to remind people to be pious and good people when they exited the cathedral to go out into the world.
They don't make me feel especially pious, but people were much more superstitious back then. Maybe if I passed them once a week I would attempt to be more pious...(piety isn't my goal in life, being more Christ-like is, so I still think I would need something else by the doors of the church to make me a better person.)
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