[Photographs by George P. Landow 2010. You may use any of these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a website or include it in a print document.]

Grotesque Heads


Left: Was this intended as a portrait? Middle left: A lovely, classical-looking leaf-face. Right: This grotesque and the left-most two in the following row all have three faces blending into one another.


Bas-reliefs (usually two or more figures)


Left: If the lower half represents Samson pulling down the building around him, the bottom would have to be Delilah having his hair cut off. Or it could be the king or bishop designing the towers of the cathedral. Left middle: A man chaining a monkey? Middle and middle right: both show the Celtic influence. Right: the base of the right side of an arch, the only one with this kind of decoration: To the right appears a diamond shape inside of which is a funny little man standing on a grotesque head while on the curve of the arch appear faces (or masks) of birds, devils, and people.


Grotesque faces on arch rim


Plant-Animal Grotesques and Gargoyles Outside


Left: The two animals who grow gracefully out of the carved vegetation (grape leaves?) have the bodies of birds with animal (dog?) heads. Middle: Here in reverse, vegetation grows out of the building near the grotesque gargoyles. Ruskin somewhere writes that the French so badly maintain their great buildings — he is pleading that we should maintain ancient structures, not neglect and then attempt to restore (but actually) destroy them — that they permit grass to grown on all parts of them.

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Last modified 28 June 2010