On the façade of Strasbourg’s Cathedral or Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, as on most Medieval cathedrals, many of the fantastic creatures perched on these buildings are not gargoyles at all. Rather, they're grotesques. Grotesques are decorative elements of Gothic architecture that didn’t become popular until around the 13th century beginning in France, though earlier editions existed in different cultures for centuries. While demons are by far the most common grotesque, most were intended to frighten and protect. Consequently, intimidating animals, exotic hybrids (called chimera), mythical creatures, unsettling humans and even angels were popular subjects across both types of sculpture—though some are more humorous than hair-raising.
February 27th, 2021
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