For the past few months, I've been working with Citaliarestauro.com, a Portuguese e-learning company specializing in art history, to create an online course about the history of Gothic architecture. I'm so excited to announce that it is now available for purchase!
A charming story about Laon Cathedral, an important early Gothic church, and why it has sixteen life-sized statues of oxen on its towers.
I spent my Saturday morning gargoyle hunting, and I found these charming little grotesques on a small house on the grounds of a church I sometimes attend. (To be more accurate, I already knew of their existence. I didn't find them as much as I sought them out to take their picture.) Interestingly, I didn't spot a single gargoyle… Continue reading Think gargoyle-ly, act locally
This gargoyle on Reims Cathedral seems to have had a head transplant some time since the Middle Ages! The concept is actually not that unusual, since centuries of running water often erode functioning gargoyles over time. It's difficult to tell from this photo if the replacement was done in metal or a differently-colored stone. Either way, the end result… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Reims Cathedral, France
This grotesque is on the west portal of Chartres Cathedral - among the grandest and most famous of all French Gothic churches. While its close cousin in Paris is famous for its gargoyles, Chartres is celebrated for its beautiful stained glass and profuse sculptural decoration. Much of this sculptural work is clustered around its nine arched doors (portals);… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Chartres Cathedral, France
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… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Bethlehem Chapel, Saint-Jean-de-Boiseau, France
Today's grotesque is a true classic. The gargoyles of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris are neither the oldest nor the most interesting of their kind, but they have certainly become the most famous. The interior and exterior of this church, which was a major milestone in the history of Gothic architecture, were both rather creatively restored by Gothic Revival proponent… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Notre Dame de Paris
mouth puller grotesque Two weeks ago, I talked about the mouth puller grotesque and how common he can be in Gothic architecture. The grotesque above belongs to a related type - the thorn puller, who struggles to pull a thorn or some other painful irritant out of his foot. The thorn puller appears in many different… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Wells Cathedral, Somerset, UK
Today's grotesque came to my attention via Atlas Obscura, a fantastic place to find fun, quirky facts and interesting locations to visit. This little bull figure lives on one side of the cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy. The church is heavily-laden with sculptural decorations of many styles and subjects, but this bull has a story separate… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence
In 2012, Milan's Duomo came up with a pretty cool fundraising idea. In order to come up with the necessary funds to support restorations efforts, this massive Gothic cathedral decided to put its 135 gargoyles up for adoption. Donors could pick a gargoyle to contribute to, receiving a little name plaque underneath "their" gargoyle. This article on swide.com… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Duomo, Milan