The stunning Notre Dame de Bayeux or Bayeux Cathedral in the Normandy region of France is a medieval masterpiece with a heavily ornamented exterior.
Amongst the elaborate gargoyles and grotesques that are liberally sprinkled on the surface are these ferocious stone dog-like creatures — forever glaring outward in a sinister manner. Although some of the similarly shaped carvings along the roofline appear to be true gargoyles that transport water into the downspouts, these examples seen below are instead known as grotesques, not gargoyles, and I discovered them on the side of the cathedral closest to the grassy square.
The common interpretation for the usage of this type of imagery is that the ordinary citizen of the medieval world was unlikely to be educated, therefore simple lessons were often told quite effectively ‘in stone’ via images and sculpture. Previous spiritual beliefs in the pre-Christian world embraced the concept of monsters and demons or spirits that could be capriciously good or evil. In the case of these types of ferocious stone carvings, it was believed that they would stand guard over the church and its ‘good people’ and protect them from the intrusion of dark forces.
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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03/12/2011 at 3:08 PM Comments (0)