Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gargoyles and Grotesques

Gargoyle on Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Gargoyle on Amiens Cathedral, the tallest Gothic church and largest cathedral in France. 

The only difference between a gargoyle sculpture and a grotesque sculpture is that gargoyles are designed to carry away water through their mouth as in a waterspout.
In modern terminology the term gargoyle has come to be used for both functional and non-functional forms of this whimsical, sometimes nightmarish, form of sculpture.

Examples of Gargoyles are here at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.

Gothic gargoyles are 
  • often creatures 
  • sometimes human with creature type features. 
  • sometimes they are more creature with some human feature.
  • sometimes more than one type of creature is depicted in a gargoyle.  
  • an expression of the imagination of their sculptor.  
  • less grotesque, more whimsical gargoyles are found in more recent gargoyles.

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