Welcome back to the Field Guide to Gargoyles, your answer for common questions about gargoyles and grotesques. Last time, we identified what a gargoyle is and how it differs from a grotesque. Now, let's talk about the gargoyle origin story. Where and when do gargoyles come from? It's difficult to pinpoint when or where the very first gargoyle appeared, because… Continue reading Field Guide to Gargoyles, Part Two: Where and When Did Gargoyles Come From?
I love gargoyles, and I know a lot of other people do too. Talking to gargoyle enthusiasts, I've come to realize that the origins, terminology, and interpretation of gargoyles can be confusing, and there's not a lot of good information out there. In an effort to encourage greater appreciation of these quirky little creatures, I’ve decided to spend a few posts… Continue reading Field Guide to Gargoyles, Part One: What is a Gargoyle, Anyway?
According to the photographer's caption on flickr, this grotesque can be found at the City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri. Not being familiar with that particular institution but assuming it was an art museum, I searched online to figure out if this carving is a feature of the building or part of its collection. Instead, I… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: City Museum, St. Louis, Missouri
I freely admit that I haven't been great about posting gargoyles over the past few months, but I recently found a reader grotesque that I hadn't seen before, and it seems to have snapped me back into action. This scholarly fellow attends the City College of New York. I believe that he resides on the… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: City College of New York
Gargoyle collecting isn't among the most popular of hobbies, so I may be on the road to becoming a trendsetter. I purchased these two little grotesques at the New York Renaissance Faire this past weekend. I've named them Toulouse and Berlioz in honor of one of my favorite Disney movies, The Aristocats. According to the salesperson, Toulouse is a grotesque baby… Continue reading Gargoyles to Call My Own
These gargoyles may not be on a building, but they are certainly serving their proper purpose. Located on the base of the Fountain of the Fallen Angel (Fuente del Ángel Caído) in Madrid's Buen Retiro Park, these eight devil figures spit water out of their mouths and the mouths of their reptilian pets. The statue, designed… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Buen Retiro Park, Madrid
I belong to a wonderful group on Facebook called Mansions of the Gilded Age. Last month, I asked some of my fellow group members whether they knew of any gargoyles on Gilded Age homes. They came back with quite a few great examples, including the Turnblad Mansion in Minneapolis. Commissioned by Swedish-born newspaper publisher Swan Turnblad… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Turnblad Mansion, Minneapolis, USA
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
The 1901 Pohjola building in Helsinki, Finland is decorated with many grotesques representing figures from Finland's mythology. The word "Pohjola" itself refers to a place in the myth Kalevala,which is Finland's national epic, and the people and animals on the building are presumably from that epic. Pohjola may also refer to the name of the insurance company… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Pohjola Building, Helsinki, Finland
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