15 Jan 2016

GARGOYLES (AND GROTESQUES).

Often attributed St Romanus who, according to legend saved his country from a monster who went by the name of Goji, I've always had a fascination with ...



- From what I'm informed is Washington National Cathedral
 Perhaps modern and more of a grotesque than a gargoyle but I had to share this.
(For more click here)


Created in a number of different images, the 'Gargouille' (from the Latin 'Gurgula' meaning throat or gullet) Goji, according to which legend you believe, was ...

  • Subdued by St Romanus armed with nothing more than a crucifix
  • Captured by St Romanus with the aid of a condemned man.
Either way, with its long, serpent-like neck, slender jaws and snout and membranous wings, a creature so frightful to behold it frightened off evil spirits, the 'Gargoyle' was said to have been led back to Rouen where it was burned.

Except, in the tradition of all good myths ...

it's head would not burn it being tempered by its own fiery breath and thus was mounted on the walls of a newly built church as protection.


Anyway, the legend of Goji aside ...

Believed to have been inspired from any number of sources including the killing of the 'Chimera' (a fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a serpent) by Bellerphon and his winged horse, Pegasus, some even have it that gargoyles ...

stone statues by day, become flesh and blood at night. Their daytime slumber helping them to heal the wounds gained the previous evening.



- One of the gargoyles of Rouen Cathedral
Is this Goji?

Different from 'grotesques' in that gargoyles have a practical function (grotesques though similar are merely decorative). Acting as a rain spout - in German the word for a gargoyle is 'Wasserspeier' (water spewer), in Dutch, 'waterspuwer' (water spitter/vomiter) - the water flowing from the rooftop into a trough and out of the mouth of the statue, thus protecting the church from not only evil spirits but also from erosion caused by water.

But what of this ...





- The 'mooning' gargoyle of Freiburg Cathedral, Germany?

Rumour has it that one day the stonemasons of Freiburg, Münster, were called upon by the city council to include more detail in their carvings and work harder .... needless to say at no extra cost.

Now, not having FaceBook (or indeed any other social networking sites) on which to protest the stonemasons decided, as you would, on a mooning gargoyle defecating in the direction of city council.


21 comments:

LL Cool Joe said...

We have a Gargoyle on our roof. The seagulls sit on him and poop over his head. I worry he'll come down in the wind and end up coming through our bedroom window. I was always fond of the Gargoyles in the Disney version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Nikki-ann said...

I do love Gargoyles. I think they add a bit of interest to a building.

Tracy Terry said...

How wonderful. Hopefully it will never come to him (funny how we always think of them as male) crashing through your bedroom window

I also love Victor, Hugo and especially Laverne. I had originally included a video clip but had issues playing it on my blog so took it down.

Kelly said...

Wonderful post - I think gargoyles are fascinating. I love cathedral architecture in general, but even more so when it includes wonderful carvings like these. (even mooning gargoyles!)

Suko said...

Fascinating and funny post! The 'mooning' gargoyle of Freiburg Cathedral is hilarious!

Have a wonderful weekend, Tracy!

carol said...

Great post. I do love gargoyles, but have never seen the "mooning" one before.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I love gargoyles! I also love the story behind Dedo. Supposedly carved by a nun and hidden until it was found by accident. I always find them interesting. The mooning one made me laugh. :)

Brandi Kosiner said...

Interesting history and facts.. I have read a series with sort of gargoyles

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Gargoyles are pretty interesting! I think some are a bit creepy looking, but it's interesting to see how artists make them.

DMS said...

So interesting to learn about the legends behind the gargoyles. Also- the last fact about the masons was fascinating. Wonder how it was received at the time! :)
~Jess

frayedattheedge said...

An interesting post - an the idea of the mooning gargoyle appeals - I wonder if I could sneak one on to the roof of the Scottish Parliament!!??

Brian Joseph said...

Thanks for this great post Tracy.I loved the information on the legend of Goji.

Gargoyles are so interesting! I am usually fascinated by mythological creatures and the artwork that surrounds them.

Sandra Cox said...

This was a great post, Tracy! I love the mooning gargoyle. That'll show 'em:)
One of my books is based on this theme. Not a gargoyle but a garden statue.

Sandra Cox said...

PS Just saw the 'I only have a kitchen because it came with the house.' Ha! I always threatened to leave the kitchen out all together if we built:)

Charlie said...

It's interesting what their purpose was/is compared to how we see them, though I think their purpose is becoming more well known. It does make sense for them to be pretty ugly in that sense. That last one is pretty funny!

Karen Alderman said...

I have several gargoyles in the house (bookends) and int he yard. It's nice to read more about them!

Karen @For What It's Worth

Trac~ said...

Interesting! These things always creep me out! HA Glad your toe is healing nicely! :)

Sherry Ellis said...

The gargoyle of the cat eating the fish is actually kind of cute. I don't think I've ever seen a cute gargoyle.

Stephanie Faris said...

Oh wow...I would have just thought those were odd gargoyles. They're definitely creepy.

So many books, so little time said...

Fab post, I love the photographs and story behind it, I have only read one book about Gargoyles or rather featuring one, I would read a bit more to be honest. Very interesting post Tracy.

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

Gina R said...

You're right, they are rather fascinating and have a myriad a legends/myths about their background. Great share Tracy!