Gargoyles and other grotesques in architecture

Ghoulish and mystical sculptures that disturb and delight

Stars Insider

22/11/22 | StarsInsider


Derived from the Old French gargouille, meaning "throat," the term gargoyle was first used to describe carved lions and spouts on ancient classical buildings. Gargoyles were designed to carry rainwater away from a building to protect the masonry from water damage. Today, a gargoyle's function remains exactly that. Chimera or grotesques, on the other hand, are ornamental-only sculptures. What they have in common, though, is that these Gothic-era effigies represent some of the ugliest and most bizarrely formed works of art ever created. Indeed, a few are truly disturbing in their appearance.

They are typically found on the facades of churches and cathedrals, but can also be admired—or disliked—on the walls of universities, clock towers, and other civic buildings. So, where in the world can you see the wackiest, weirdest, and most alarming examples of this often devilish artform?

Click through and come face to face with some mystical and sometimes sinister-looking sculptures.

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