The Gargoyles of Notre-Dame: Medievalism and the Monsters of Modernity
Most of the seven million people who visit the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris each year probably do not realize that the legendary gargoyles adorning this medieval masterpiece were not constructed until the nineteenth century. The first comprehensive history of these world-famous monsters, The Gargoyles of Notre-Dame argues that they transformed the iconic thirteenth-century cathedral into a modern monument.
Michael Camille begins his long-awaited study by recounting architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc’s ambitious restoration of the structure from 1843 to 1864, when the gargoyles were designed, sculpted by the little-known Victor Pyanet, and installed. These gargoyles, Camille contends, were not mere avatars of the Middle Ages, but rather fresh creations—symbolizing an imagined past—whose modernity lay precisely in their nostalgia. He goes on to map the critical reception and many-layered afterlives of these chimeras, notably in the works of such artists and writers as Charles Méryon, Victor Hugo, and photographer Henri Le Secq. Tracing their eventual evolution into icons of high kitsch, Camille ultimately locates the gargoyles’ place in the twentieth-century imagination, exploring interpretations by everyone from Winslow Homer to the Walt Disney Company.
Lavishly illustrated with more than three hundred images of its monumental yet whimsical subjects, The Gargoyles of Notre-Dame is a must-read for historians of art and architecture and anyone whose imagination has been sparked by the lovable monsters gazing out over Paris from one of the world’s most renowned vantage points.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - jcbrunner - LibraryThing
This unfortunately posthumous publication wonderfully examines the re-imagination and re-discovery of the past. After the enlightenment, the romantic 19th century re-discovered the artistic merits of ... Read full review
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animal appears architect architecture argued artist balustrade Baudelaire beasts become bêtes birds Brassaï carved cathedral cathédrale century chapter Charles Méryon chimeras chimeras of Notre-Dame church created creatures Cuvier Dame dark demon described devil Dictionnaire drawings eagle etching eyes famous fantasy female fin de siècle France French gallery gargoyles gaze Geoffroy-Dechaume Gothic Gothic architecture Gothic art grotesque Henri Le Secq human Huysmans Ibid illustration imagination Journal des travaux L’Art Lassus Lassus and Viollet-le-Duc later looking MAP CNMHS medieval melancholy demon Michelet Middle Ages Mieusement modern monsters of sex monstrous monuments monuments historiques Nègre nineteenth nineteenth-century Notre-Dame de Paris Parisian pensive demon Photo photograph physiognomy popular portal postcard published Pyanet Quasimodo represented restoration romantic sculptures sexual signs south tower statues stone Stryge symbol thirteenth-century tion Tour Saint-Jacques uncanny vampire Victor Hugo Viollet Viollet-le-Duc west facade Witkowski woman writing