A link to my HeadStuff.org article about illustrations of Santa Claus and how his appearance evolved over time. Includes work by illustrators like Thomas Nast and Norman Rockwell.
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
The image of Santa Claus is pretty much omnipresent in the month of December, but how many people actually know where it comes from? Santa has his origins in numerous characters from the myths, legends, and stories of many different cultures; Saint Nicholas is his best-known but not only antecedent. As such, Santa Claus takes many diverse forms and personalities… Continue reading December 2nd: Santa Claus according to Thomas Nast
One of the things that I love about illuminated manuscripts is their frequent capacity for complete and inexplicable weirdness. Amidst the beautiful decoration, perfect lettering, and pious illustrations that fill many manuscripts' pages, you can also find grotesque or fantastical creatures, anthropomorphized animals, and figures carrying out a variety of bizarre or even vulgar behaviors.… Continue reading What in the World? – Day Eighteen of Medieval Manuscripts
The fact that it is still December and I'm already writing a review of a book I got for Christmas should tell you everything you need to know about how wonderful this book was. David Day's The World of Tolkien: Mythological Sources of The Lord of the Rings. (New York: Chartwell Books, Inc., 2013) is a 184-page-long,… Continue reading I Want to be a Tolkienologist — my review of David Day’s The World of Tolkien: Mythological Sources of The Lord of the Rings
Harry Potter fans (such as myself) will certainly enjoy this basilisk grotesque carved into the façade of Amiens Cathedral in France. It is interesting that the basilisk (or cockatrice) of medieval legend looks almost nothing like the one described in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but its other characteristics and the deadly effects… Continue reading Fantastic Beasts (Oh Look, I Found One)
One highly fanciful legend exists about the origin of the first gargoyle. It concerns a dragon who terrorized the town of Rouen, in France.