French · Gargoyle of the Day

Gargoyle of the Day: Bethlehem Chapel, Saint-Jean-de-Boiseau, France

Bethlehem Chapel in Saint-Jean-de-Boiseau, France. Photo by sychrii via Flickr [Creative Commons].
The Bethlehem Chapel is a little medieval French church that was restored in a very unusual manner. In the 1990s, a movement began to repair the decaying chapel, which had once played host to a series of now-lost grotesques on the building’s four pinnacles. The architect and stone carver, supported by the town’s youth, decided to replace the missing grotesques with popular creatures from movies, television, comics, etc. like Gremlins and Alien. (1) There are twenty-eight grotesques in total across the four pillars, each of which has a theme – the soul of man, the tree of life, the unconscious, and wisdom – with each grotesque representing an idea fitting that theme. (2) I love how new characters and forms are used to express timeless ideas. The finished project is now being hailed as a monument of geekdom all across the internet. You can see individual photographs of the grotesques on the so-called “Gremlins Chapel” here.

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