Architecture · Gargoyles

Darth Vader Grotesques, Books, and A Medieval Revival Library

I had lots of fun with the non-traditional gargoyles yesterday, and I hope you did, too. For today’s offering, please accept this link to more photos of gargoyles from around the world. I particularly enjoyed the Washington National Cathedral ones, so I visited its website and found some great information, including facts about gargoyles and an interactive map that describes some of best ones on the church. You can also sign up for free, downloadable gargoyle calendars each month and request a book of gargoyle photographs for a $25 donation to the cathedral. Best of all, I found out that the Washington National Cathedral has a Darth Vader grotesque, designed by a thirteen-year-old contest winner. Click on the photo for more information.

However, my original reason for starting this blog, as I mentioned in my first post, was to do my own research and form my own interpretations.  So, I decided that the first thing I have to do is reacquaint myself with what other people have written and hypothesized about gargoyles. In pursuit of this goal, I visited two places – my own art history bookshelf (which I am proud to say is quite extensive) and my local library, which fittingly enough, looks like this:

My local library. Isn't it beautiful? Photo by me.
My local library. Isn’t it beautiful?

The library is almost 100 years old, and it has had several additions. I believe that this photo shows the original facade. A few years ago, the building got its most recent expansion, which was done in a contemporary style. I’m not usually a big fan of this kind of architectural juxtaposition, but I really appreciate how well the old and new sections of the building mesh. They are clearly very different, but on both the exterior and interior, I think they really enhance rather than detract from each other. The 21st-century architect was clearly respectful of the historic aspects of the building, and it helps that you can’t see the contemporary facade from the main street. Near the library is a church in the same medieval revival style. It is currently undergoing extensive restoration thanks to funds from the local historic preservation society. I don’t know when restoration is expected to be completed, but I will provide a full report when it is. 🙂

I digress, but I think I can be excused in this case. My local library system had a grand total of three adult nonfiction books on gargoyles, and I checked out all of them. So now I am reading:

photo (4) photo (5)The Stephen King book should be an interesting adventure, but I disagree with his title. Some gargoyles are a little creepy, I will admit, but could you ever describe this sweet little guy as a “nightmare”? The book has lots of big, color photos, which I am excited about.

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