Friday, May 7, 2010

Every morning I am greeted by the beautiful sound of the bells from the Notre Dame Cathedral; everyday I walk by it to see another fascinating detail.  Construction on Notre Dame began in 1163 during the reign of Louis VII, and the work continued over the centuries until its completion about 1345.  Numerous architects worked on the site, and it is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in Europe.  The building, inside and out, is overwhelming beautiful.  But as you look up, one of the most fascinating features on the outside of the cathedral are the gargoyles and grotesques.  The gargoyles are bizarre figures that jut out from the building, and have long, reptilian necks and narrow snouts, with pinned back wings.  One might assume that these are placed  to ward off evil spirits, but some research revealed that the word "gargoyle" shares the root of the French word "gargouille", meaning "throat", and with the Latin word "gurgulio", meaning both "throat" and the gurgling sound of water as it passes through a gargoyle.  A gargoyle is a water spout, carefully placed to throw the water from the gutters out and away from the building. The creativity in these pieces is astounding.  An in-depth exploration of the history and legends of gargoyles and grotesques can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. How beautiful. I love the stained glass shot above. Direct from a movie lot! Miss you. Hope you're having a wonderful experience.