The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Gargoyles

I have, for years, been fascinated by gargoyles, those grotesque creatures sneering at us from the facades and spires of  Gothic cathedrals. Their inclusion on these monumental structures is not arbitrary. Great care was taken to convey a message to the faithful. Each creature had its own symbolism. However gargoyles were not included just for decorative and symbolic reasons. They also have the very mundane function of channeling water from the spires and buttresses of these immense cathedrals to the ground. You may be able to view this happening in this photo of some of the gargoyles situated on Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.
Paris - Lorna's Day 2 (90)
Having a naturally active imagination I tend to focus less on the practical use of gargoyles and let my thoughts take flight to come up with the most outrageous stories. For are we sure that these creatures were carved out of stone by human hands? Perhaps once there were dogs, wolves, sheep, humans, even, who were turned into stone by an evil sorcerer. Maybe, undercover of the night, they turn back to the beings there once were, free to roam the streets but cursed to take up their position as soon as the first rays of dawn appear on the horizon. Or it could be that they invade our sleep, with that perpetual ugly sneer on their face, and turn our pleasant dreams into nightmares.
Paris - Lorna's Day 3 (124)Paris - Lorna's Day 2 (111)Paris - Lorna's Day 3 (123)Tuscany 118
For centuries they have looked down on us from their dizzying perch, grinning at our folly, delighting in our mortality, while they have remained frozen in time. So much must have changed before their all-seeing eyes as the cities below them grew and prospered or fell into ruin and decline. At once grisly, grotesque and eerily fascinating, gargoyles are the product of a different era when war, pestilence and death were a daily occurrence and, even today, when  most of us do not give them so much as a second thought, they serve to remind us of the precarious frailty of human life.
  Paris - Lorna's Day 3 (66) Tuscany 117Tuscany 115 Paris - Lorna's Day 3 (67) 
The gargoyles featured here are from:
- Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris
- Sacre Couer Basilica, Paris (this is not a Gothic church but it still has some great gargoyles)
- St Severin Church, Paris
- Duomo of Santa Maris Assunta, Pisa

15 comments:

  1. WOW your imagination runs... great post!
    Wishing you a happy Sunday!
    Sue.

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  2. Mega-beautiful post! Magnificent photos..wickedly beautiful! I too..am a Gargoyle Kindred..I have my own little resident one..! Fabulous read and stunning imagery! A girl after my own heart!
    Kiki~

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  3. Fantastic post! Gargoyles are fun and mysterious and do get the imagination going.

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  4. They are amazing! Reminds me of the ones I captured on the building by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester..did you see the shots I took of them on my blog?

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  5. I think gargoyles are scary looking statues also, but in a way very fascinating objects. Great pictures and post, Loree!

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  6. Fascinating post, but I do confess to disliking gargoyles!

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  7. Thos gargoyles are intense. We don't see them much in America - or they're toned back so we barely notice them. You should write stories about gargoyles since they help pique your imagination.

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  8. No matter who made them or where they are coming from, they are scary and ugly ! and they vomit ! brrr ! But they are interesting too.

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  9. I am also fascinated by gargoyles. I always have to stop and look at them any time I see one.
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  10. Howdy Loree
    Oh I do believe this is one of my favorite posts to date !
    Thank you for all the fantastic photos .
    This is a truly fascinating subject.
    Even here in Texas you can find these fantastic creatures on many of the older buildings .It seems they are not partial to any particular place .They simply are a part of some of the most fabulous architecture to be found through out history.
    Thank you so much for hanging in there with me as I blog on and off again.
    Taking care of my Mom is going to be a full time job .
    We are still trying to work out the logistics .
    I live about five hours away from my parents so it has been intresting .
    Big Hugs from Texas
    Blessings of joy to you and yours !

    Happy Trails

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  11. nice blog^
    visit me please
    see a beautiful indonesian

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  12. Great gargoyle post and wonderful photos. Thank you for including the link to the symbolism of the gargoyles - very interesting.

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  13. That's a lot of gargoyles! I wonder why they were ever created in the first place? Such creepy looking sculptures. Interesting that there are so many of them in Paris. Something I may never have seen had it not been for your photos! Oh I don't know, maybe one day I'll make it there.

    Sharon

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  14. You've done a great job, Loree! Great captures of really ugly, scary sculptures! :)

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Thanks for stopping by. I read and appreciate every one of your comments. I will do my best to reply whenever I can.

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