Skeptic Friends Network

Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?
Home | Forums | Active Topics | Active Polls | Register | FAQ | Contact Us  
  Connect: Chat | SFN Messenger | Buddy List | Members
Personalize: Profile | My Page | Forum Bookmarks  
 All Forums
 Community Forums
 General Discussion
 Scattershots: Gargoyles & Grotesques
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Next Page
Author  Topic Next Topic
Page: of 2

filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2009 :  04:39:52  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote



First, let's look at the differences between Gargoyles and Grotesques (in common usage, both are simply and incorrectly lumped together as Gargoyles), and then find out exactly what the hell Chimeras have to do with anything.

A Gargoyle is nothing more than a decorative roof drain installed to keep rain water from running down the walls and undermining the building's foundation.. It's name comes from the French gargouille: throat, stemming from the Latin gar: to swallow. Some were intentionally made so the water would gurgle noisily as it passed through, rather than just flow. They were usually lined with a lead pipe.



Gargoyles from the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris.


A Grotesque, by it's nature, serves no function beyond the decorative. They tend to be routinely hideous,and endlessly charming to behold. European cathedrals are littered with them for reasons we'll examine as we go along.


A grotesque Grotesque, location unknown


The lead-off cartoon illustration is a not just a Grotesque, but a Chimera as well. Chimeras are simply imaginative creatures comprised of various parts of other creatures. Both Gargoyles and Grotesques can be Chimeras, although it is more commonly seen in Grotesques.



Three Grotesques, two of them Chimeras,
Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris


Gargoyles go far back in history. Any place above ground level that needed a permanent drain was eligible for a Gargoyle, and as for Grotesques, well, the ancestry of those is even more lost in the mists of time; conceivably back to a day when some primitive hunter decorated his rude shelter with a carved fetish fashioned from stone or animal bone, for luck, fancy and deity appeasement. The Venus' found in paleolithic sites come to mind.



Venus of Willendorf, an ancient Grotesque.


Europeans adopted the decorative Gargoyles and their attendant Grotesques around 1200 CE, when the Catholic Church was beginning to actively and aggressively recruit new followers, and keep an iron grip on the old ones. Churches and Cathedrals, and even humble monasteries began to all but bristle with examples of this oddest form of the stone-carver's art. As most of these things tend to be wonderfully ghastly, it is thought that they represented the evils of the outside world as opposed to the peaceful sanctuaries within. And as with anything else of this nature, they were also thought to bring about good luck. Or bad luck, depending upon which side of the priest's point of view a visitor might be on. In any event, the decorations of the European Cathedrals became the very definition of the Gothic Gargoyle.

Today, Gargoyles have been pretty much taken over by modern down-spouts, although there are still a few artists who carve them, but Grotesques continue to flourish. Below is a splendid example of a modern Grotesque from the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.



And if we expand the definition only slightly, we can include such items as poured concrete lawn ornaments and bathtub virgins, some more grotesque than others. Like the Grotesques of yore, much of the purpose of these is to bring luck and blessings to the household, although no one should admit that lest we call them superstitious bumpkins and other unkind nouns and adjectives.

It might also be noted that the Mesoamerican cultures of Mexico and Central America were stone carvers with scant peerage, and produced some of the most marvelous of Grotesques, but that's another topic to be dealt with at another time.

Now, let us all too briefly bask in the glory of the Gargoyle.

Here's one of my favorite Grotesques. I'm not sure where it is located but would love to view it in person:



Here's another from the National Cathedral. Remind you of anyone?



A defecating Gargoyle from the Church of St. Benedict. Glinton, England. These were not common but sometimes they were used to “moon” another building.



First Century BCE, Hellenistic Gargoyle, Ai Khanoum, Afghanistan.



A Grotesque from the Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris.



Roman Gargoyle, Pantheon Square, Rome



Leonine Gargoyle, Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Barcelona.



A crypt Gargoyle from the Abbey of St. Micheal, Farnbourgh, England



Still another from the National Cathedral, and it has a story. All of the stone carvers who worked on the building are immortalized as some of it's Grotesques.



The Grotesques of Pont Neuf, Paris



And finally, a bejeweled Grotesque, and a bit of all right! Location unknown, alas.



Reference

Reference




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!


Edited by - filthy on 09/05/2009 04:51:41

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25477 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2009 :  09:33:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by filthy


A grotesque Grotesque, location unknown
My Google is not strong enough for this one.
Here's one of my favorite Grotesques. I'm not sure where it is located but would love to view it in person:

That'd be on the Palacio da Pena in Sintra, Portugal.
And finally, a bejeweled Grotesque, and a bit of all right! Location unknown, alas.

She's at the Historic Hotel Belleclaire, New York City, 77th street and Broadway.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2009 :  10:47:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hey, thanks! I'm not all that good (read: pathetic) at google searching.

The one you couldn't find might be a part of a ruin somewhere. It appears to be just sitting loose on the ground. Handsome fellow, isn't he?

Alas, Portugal is too far away, but I might get up to NYC again sometime. I'll look the lady up....

Pretty great, aren't they?




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13205 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2009 :  11:29:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great post filthy! I called all of those things "gargoyles." Every once is a while I learn something new.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

Chippewa
SFN Regular

USA
1496 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2009 :  14:16:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Chippewa's Homepage Send Chippewa a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Cool faces!

Here are clips from a low budget 1972 TV movie: Gargoyles. Cheap production, but good makeup.
Go to Top of Page

filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 09/08/2009 :  02:05:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As I was blundering about the web looking for something else, I happened upon this rather somber, slightly apprehensive and quite appealing Grotesque, location unknown.



At the same site, there was this marvelous frog Gargoyle, location also unknown, as these were tourist photos with no text, and I lack Dave's grim and dogged determination.



Needless to say, this made me forget all about what I wanted to examine in the first place and sent me off on yet another drain-spout & wild goose chase that was rewarded with these splendid Gargoyles from the Duomo di Milano cathedral in Milan, Italy. Heh, there was even a wild goose Chimera in it – or maybe a duck, whatever, it's a great Gargoyle!










"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Go to Top of Page

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 09/08/2009 :  03:09:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That's cool stuff, Filthy! The masons who made that stuff in the old days were really expressing themselves. And I love the Darth Vader grotesque on the National Cathedral!


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Go to Top of Page

filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 09/08/2009 :  03:33:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner

That's cool stuff, Filthy! The masons who made that stuff in the old days were really expressing themselves. And I love the Darth Vader grotesque on the National Cathedral!


Cool indeed! The Italians were and still are famous for carving stone. In fact, I have read that the National Cathedral stone carvers were of Italian extraction.

This thing was fun to do and I might do another, perhaps a bit different, sometime down the road.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Go to Top of Page

Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 09/08/2009 :  10:32:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Nice article, Filthy. Interesting and original.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
Go to Top of Page

AnthroGeek
New Member

USA
38 Posts

Posted - 09/08/2009 :  15:36:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send AnthroGeek a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Why that is some pretty neat looking stuff. I also walk away with never again confusing a gargoyle with a grotesque.

filthy, you gave a few examples of why the decorations might have been used, even the odd "mooning" gargoyle that implied some other motive behind the imagery.

Did you come across any regional patterns or folklore in the styles of the gargoyles and grotesques being used? Were they originally planned in the construction of the building or more of an afterthought? Was the only one artist involved in the designs on any one building or something along the line of competing work groups?


A series of fun one-liners about various pseudoscientific claims and, even better, a concise description of the scientific method - Ken Feder on Skeptic Friends Network from "Frauds, Myths and Mysteries"
Go to Top of Page

filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 09/08/2009 :  16:47:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by AnthroGeek

Why that is some pretty neat looking stuff. I also walk away with never again confusing a gargoyle with a grotesque.

filthy, you gave a few examples of why the decorations might have been used, even the odd "mooning" gargoyle that implied some other motive behind the imagery.

Did you come across any regional patterns or folklore in the styles of the gargoyles and grotesques being used? Were they originally planned in the construction of the building or more of an afterthought? Was the only one artist involved in the designs on any one building or something along the line of competing work groups?


All but a couple of the examples were European & American, and on religious edifices. No doubt some were added an an afterthought, but most, especially the Gargoyles, were planned from the beginning. Thus, the styles have a certain regional similarity. However, the design of the piece itself was usually left up to the stone carver. There is a thought floating around that some of the worst pieces were done due to that gentleman's not getting paid promptly.

Their main purpose was to impress the Heathen with the power of the Church over the Demonic -- the Gargoyles enslaved as drains and the Grotesques usually seen in a position of distress, often with an agonized expression. Or else standing a sort of guard duty, glowering out at an evil world. I can't confirm it, but there is another thought out there that some of these things were aimed as personal insults at other individuals outside of that particulat Cathederal.

Entire generations of stone carvers worked on them, father & son & grandson. They also did the interior statuary, which was altogether different. It tends to be gentle, even if the saint, or whatever represented died in most unpleasant circumstances.

I love religious art. Much of it is just so, well, Grotesque!




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Go to Top of Page

Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9606 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2009 :  06:00:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by filthy
Chimeras are simply imaginative creatures comprised of various parts of other creatures.

You mean like... platypus?




Awesome article, filthy!


Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
Go to Top of Page

filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2009 :  06:33:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

Originally posted by filthy
Chimeras are simply imaginative creatures comprised of various parts of other creatures.

You mean like... platypus?




Awesome article, filthy!


Thanks, Doc. I might have another in the same vein going..... Dunno yet.

Oh, and as for the platypus, it's not a Chimera at all, even though it was thought to be one early on. God created the little bugger, then when he sobered up, he was too hungover to clean up his mess. Here is a real flesh Chimera:


P.T. Barnum's Fee Gee Mermaid.


Not nearly as great as the carved stone ones, nor even a platypus, is it?




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Go to Top of Page

astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2009 :  07:52:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Couple more I came across:








I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
Go to Top of Page

filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2009 :  10:21:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Couple more I came across:

I saw the first one and didn't use it because the image was too small to fit the piece, but the rest: excellent! How could I have missed them?!

I especially like the Grotesque, third down, just above the beautiful Gargoyle.

Thanks!




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Edited by - filthy on 09/09/2009 10:23:56
Go to Top of Page

Aski
New Member

1 Post

Posted - 09/19/2014 :  03:09:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Aski a Private Message  Reply with Quote
"Some were intentionally made so the water would gurgle noisily as it passed through, rather than just flow."

They don't do this anymore, I would like to have heard what it sounded like walking down the street to see these scary looking monster making gargling noises.

Must have been quite spooky.

Also the 3 Week Diet is a good option if you're trying to burn fat.
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2  Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Jump To:

The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.


Home | Skeptic Forums | Skeptic Summary | The Kil Report | Creation/Evolution | Rationally Speaking | Skeptillaneous | About Skepticism | Fan Mail | Claims List | Calendar & Events | Skeptic Links | Book Reviews | Gift Shop | SFN on Facebook | Staff | Contact Us

Skeptic Friends Network
© 2008 Skeptic Friends Network Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.73 seconds.
Powered by @tomic Studio
Snitz Forums 2000