Tag Archives: grotesques

Medieval Times: Every Day is Halloween

sketch of grotesqhe faces

"Grotesques", by Kerry McFall

If you’ve ever worried about Halloween being too scary, just picture living in medival times. These two ghouls would have greeted you and your little darlings every Sunday as you entered and left the church, leering down from above; in the case of the fellow on the left, even spitting cold water at you on rainy days.  He’s actuallly even scarier now, because they’ve recently added a row of needle-like pigeon-prevention-spikes inside his mouth.  Eew.  And you thought that those scary faces were inventions of Marvel Comics!

I’ve been making a point of photographing “grotesques” and gargoyles when I get close enough to really see one.  (A gargoyle is a grotesque that incorporates a gutter  downspout –  we learned that on our tour of Oxford!)  They have fascinated me ever since Koln, when I suspected that I was seeing faces in the decor on the cathedral.  And it turns out I was right.  Especially in Oxford and Canterbury, those sculptors and artists really got carried away, not just with scary faces but with mocking actual individuals.  Risky business, that.

And if you ever worry about violent video games, just be glad that we no longer sanction witch burning, wife dunking, beheading, or drawing and quartering.  I question whether or not video games represent progress, but at least the blood and gore is digital… until you make guns easily available at random of course.  So if you’re not scared on that note… BOoOOo!