Gargoyles or Grotesques?


This is for Wordless Wednesday, Saturday’s Edition. But I just have to write a few words, y’all.

These creatures perch on top of the  majestic Biltmore House, in Asheville, NC, which was built in 1889. If you haven’t been there to see it, you really need to go. The estate’s owner, George Vanderbilt, worked with two of the most distinguished designers of the 19th century: architect Richard Morris Hunt (1828-1895) and landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903). The  four-story stone house  has more  than 11 million bricks, and a massive spiral staircase that rises four floors and contains an iron chandelier suspended from a single point, containing 72 electric light bulbs. Hunt modeled the architecture on the richly ornamented style of the French Renaissance.
The word ‘gargoyles’ is derived from an old French word gargouille, meaning throat. Technically an architect calls a waterspout on a building a gargoyle. If a stone carving does not carry water and has a face that resembles a creature, it is called a grotesque. Some believe that gargoyles and grotesques are inspired by the skeletal remains of prehistoric dinosaurs and other fossils.
It is said that gargoyles were created by medieval architects and stone carvers to ward off evil in an imperfect world.