Clarissa Johal: November 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

Grandma Got Run Over by a Gargoyle

Yes, it’s close to Christmas and I’m posting something about gargoyles. I’m a rebel like that. 
When you think of gargoyles, you automatically think of Jell-o. 
Okay, so maybe you don’t. But that is their favorite food. They've evolved into sugar junkies, all of them. 
So sad.
I love gargoyles. I have a collection of them. And no, I don't let them run over my grandma. I love my grandma and gargoyles don't pull sleighs. But that would make for an interesting Christmas. 
My favorite gargoyle in my collection is Victor, the one in the Jell-o here, but I love them all. 

Originally, the term gargoyle was most often applied to medieval architectural work. A means of water diversion, both ornamental and non-ornamental, they were used to shed rainwater from buildings. The French term gargouille translates to "throat" or "gullet." But gargoyles have been around throughout the ages. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Etruscans and Romans all used animal-shaped, ornamental waterspouts. By the 14th century, waterspouts had evolved into all sorts of gargoyle images. They no longer acted as waterspouts but served more as ornamentation. 

Gargoyle ornamentation, or grotesques, were used as church guardians to keep out evil spirits or cautionary images to convey an idea. They represented the evil that lingered in the periphery and were used to scare people into coming to church. Animal or anthropomorphized gargoyles, those given human qualities in relation to specific animals, were especially useful. Utilizing gargoyles in this way, helped the conversion of pagans to Catholicism and provided a visual to a largely illiterate population. Gargoyle sculptures reached the pinnacle of artistic beauty with the Notre Dame de Paris and would lay the basis for centuries of gargoyle legends and lore. Technically, these grotesques were not pure gargoyles, but decorative depictions of monks, animals, people, chimeras and layers of mythical creatures, all crafted to guard the cathedral. 

I just like mine because they're cool. That, and Victor is a busy little guy and makes for some interesting photos which you can see in my photography portfolio here.

So, whether you use gargoyles as waterspouts, guardians, cautionary tales or photographic models, I do hope each of you has a wonderful Christmas.