Wednesday, April 08, 2015

A-Z Blogging Challenge: Gargoyles and Grotesques

These have always fascinated me but I thought they were the same. It turns out they aren't. Even more what we tend to think of as gargoyles - well, what I think of as gargoyles, bizarre creatures that lurk on the roofs of medieval buildings - turned out to be grotesques or chimeras. This is because gargoyles are actually disguised water spouts. 

So these - at Quito Cathedral in Ecuador - are gargoyles. 


    Author : Delphine Ménard (notafish }

This is also a gargoyle  - photo taken by Jon Sullivan at the Natural History Museum, London, England and released into the public domain.

But this little creature from Winchester Cathedral is not.

Author: Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK         
                             Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

 Nor, I suspect, is Le Stryge at Notre Dame de Paris

(photographed with Henri Le Secq by Charles Nègre in 1853).

They are both grotesques because they don't incorporate a spout to take water away from the building and are purely decorative. Grotesques can be humorous, have human faces or form or can be fantastical creatures like griffins or mixtures of animals in which case they are chimeras.

So I learned something new today. Always a good thing.


Darla M Sands said...

Awesome post! I'm so glad to have found you via the A to Z challenge. Your kindly remark on my grammar rant is much appreciated. Best wishes and happy blogging!

diedre Knight said...

Wow! And I thought they were all just symbols of evil... Maybe now I can see one without averting my eyes!

Helen V. said...

Nice to hear from you both. I'm loving the A-Z Blogging Challenge too.