The rooster is one of early Italian St. Vitus's attributes, so it's quite fitting that a rooster gargoyle can be found on his beautiful Gothic church in Prague. Some people think that this figure depicts an eagle. I disagree, but I can understand how one might come to that conclusion without knowing about the saint's association to the rooster.… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: St. Vitus, Prague
A serpent killing an elephant. Worksop Bestiary (MS. M.81 f.78), English, c.1185. By unknown, England (http://slides-www.ucsc.edu/dbms.acgi$detail?42207) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Bestiaries are among by favorite type of medieval manuscript. Simply put, bestiaries are books of beasts, with illustrations and descriptions of each creature. That might sound like a sort of thing a child or… Continue reading Worksop Bestiary – Day Nine of Medieval Manuscripts
You guys should know by now that I love non-European gargoyles, particularly when they take forms distinctly different from what we're used to seeing. These Ecuadorean gargoyles representing local wildlife certainly fit that bill. Above, we can see several species of bird gargoyles, and below are some other creatures including a pair of alligators. This post on… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Quito, Ecuador
I've recently been reading a book about the history of British myths and legends concerning dragons, so it made sense to me that today's gargoyle should be from the United Kingdom. I was looking for some sort of dragon-like gargoyle but fell in love with this bagpipe-playing pig instead. Isn't he charming? I found him via ferrebeekeeper's blog; look there… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Melrose Abbey, Scotland
Technically, these little fellows are grotesques rather than true gargoyles, but who cares when they're so charming? Apes, monkeys, and related creatures had rather poor connotations in the Middle Ages, symbolizing a variety of evils and sins including greed and lust, but this pair is depicted with a touching humanity nonetheless.
The National Cathedral in Washington D.C. is a rare and wonderful example of twentieth-century architectural design including gargoyles and grotesques with all the cleverness and authenticity of their very best medieval ancestors. For this, we have to thank the creativity and skill of the craftsmen who carved them in much the same way they would… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: National Cathedral, Washington D.C.
Link to an article I wrote for HeadStuff.org about prehistoric European cave paintings. These paintings, which date back millennia, are the oldest known paintings in world history. They give us our best clues about the origins and art and why humans first felt compelled to create it.