Many's the time I've gotten excited by the prospect of visiting a medieval church, only to find that "medieval" mostly referred to the foundations, or some of the remaining walls. It's asking a lot for a building in continuous use to stand still in one's preferred moment or even century--a place of worship is a living document; while tradition and history are essential parts of its ideological construction, it has to be adapted to changes over time. Catholic liturgical practice changed from being standing processions to having worshippers seated in pews, which meant that floors were cleared of medieval monuments so that seating could be brought in. Some monasteries became more engaged with the general public, due to a rise in pilgrimage, which changed the numbers of altars and chapels.
Congregation sizes waxed and waned. Wars and unrest did their damage. Candles and wood-fires were exchanged for electricity and heating systems. Monarchs and archbishops would swing through to flex their power by updating art programs and building footprints. And so it goes.
Naughty Acrobat in Cahors, France
I really hope this little guy is "real" (or an accurate restoration), but he's in near-perfect shape compared to the carvings on either side of him. Only the church's records office and the archeology team know for sure.
However, in the mid-19th century, in France and Italy the rise of archeology inspired a concomitant drive to restore the past in particularly romanticized ways. This restoration was mainly ornamental. The financial boom times funded church repairs that were talked about as though they were historical, but were "better than the original." Philosophers of post-modern theory describe this phenomenon as the quest for "hyper-reality." The ostensible search for the past becomes a drive to bring it back "better" than before. The restorations become much more artifacts of the minds of the creators than a reflection of the medieval culture being invoked.
Saint Lazare, Autun
This trumeau, for example at Saint Lazare in Autun stands under a carefully preserved 12th century Last Judgment tympanum. There *was* a medieval door jamb here, and it may even have been composed of a statue of Lazarus, flanked by Mary Magdalene (left, above) and Martha (right). But. This is a 19th century sculpture, installed during restoration. The original was scraped away in the 1700s (and the famous tympanum covered by plaster) because the Romanesque style was then thought ugly and unrefined. The 19th century trumeau is beautiful, but there's nothing to announce that it is seven centuries newer than the tympanum it supports. Surely, it was intended to harmonize with the surroundings as a plausible replacement. This is only a problem if you are seeking to learn about medieval art and make the assumption that it's of a piece with the medieval sculpture surrounding it. These figures romanticize biblical characters who were not viewed as ideal in the Romanesque: Mary Magdalene's physical beauty and sensual hair were used to make her an example of how the world of the flesh is dangerous to the divine soul; Lazarus was usually depicted in his shroud and with a necrotic pallor to highlight that resurrection in the physical body is not sufficient--Christians have to resurrect their souls.
It is worth noting that in mid-eleventh century France a legend was concocted which had Lazarus, the Virgin Mary, Martha, and Mary Magdalene sail from the Holy Land to the south of France, performing various miracles. The Cathedral of St. Lazare was built to be a big pilgrimage draw, with relics of the saint here. The relics were particularly venerated because the saint represented the first believer Jesus restored to life, and so he was thought to be a powerful intercessory for pilgrims seeking redemption. French legend has him converting to Christianity in France, and becoming the first bishop of Marseille. However, I've found no images of Lazarus before the Renaissance which depict him as a bishop. So, whatever might have been in the original trumeau, odds are very good that it wasn't this.
Vezelay Tympanum, Last Judgment detail
The abbey at Vezelay, roughly 90 miles from Autun, also hosts over-zealous restorations. Again, these are beautiful sculptures, and I don't doubt there was a hell-mouth and a weighing of souls in the original tympanum, but this piece isn't remotely in character with the other, better-preserved bas-reliefs inside the portico. The original may have been too damaged by wars and the French Revolution to be salvaged, and this may be some educated guess-work from old drawings in the archives, but what it really isn't is medieval, and you'd have to be very persistent to find this out. Compare this "restoration" with the tympanum just inside.
These are, of course images taken at different distances, but if you look closely, the style of the figures in this tympanum are edgier, and less interested in making "good" figures pretty and smooth.