Introduction Hotel Levalois d'Escoville
Tympanum over doorway
Why the Great Horse ?
The main doorway was adomed with a tympanum showing a remarkable carved scene in which appeared ' a mounted horseman, reduced in size, riding over a heap of dead bodies and horses being eaten by birds; he was tumed towards the East...in front of him is a representation of the false prophet and of the dragon with several heads and of horsemen against whom he seemed to be proceeding. He was looking round as if to see the figures of the false prophet and dragon now entering an old castle, all environed by flames which already half cover the false prophet.
This bas-relief was topped by "a large horse up in the air with clouds under his fore hoofs. lts rider seemed to have had, in front of him, a sword now gone. In his right hand he held a long iron rod. Above and behind him were more horsemen following him and, in front and above, there was an angel in the sun. Some names were written on the great horseman's thigh, in several places, like King of Kings, Lord of Lords etc ... drawn from the Apocalypse (Revelation ch. XIX)"
One can have an idea of that sculpture from the tympanum over the door of the south pavilion, at the end of the vestibule.
All the decorations of the Hôtel have called forth many interpretations; they were inspired by a few verses of Saint John's Apocalypse (or Revelation) and showed gruesome scenes recalling a tragedy or a bloody deed which may have conveyed divine vengeance or the horrors of war with the clear representation of the Horseman whose mount trampled a mound of dead bodies, humans and horses.
For further information see Bernard Becks paper given to the Academy on the subject ( 1995 Transactions).;