Today’s post features a detail photo of some of the stone work in the Cathedral in Seville, Spain. Why “Wild” in the title? As you will see in Monday’s post, the Roman arch was round and utilitarian. A thousand years later someone in western Europe decided to enhance the look a little. And the so-called “Gothic” arch was invented. It’s main feature is that it is somewhat pointed at the top. The other feature is that medieval stone masons, without the benefit of sophisticated math and computer modeling, were able to make whole ceilings out of arched stone. And while they were at it, the dressed up the stone with elaborate carvings.
The carvings add nothing structural to the arch. But they do look nice!
The most famous Gothic cathedral in Paris is the Notre Dame de Paris. But I think St. Chapelle is the most beautiful, primarily because there is so little stone and so much glass in the walls.
When I walked into this structure the first time, I stood for several moments in amazement. This structure was built in the 13th century. If I’m amazed, imagine how someone from the 1300s would have felt when walking into this sacred place the first time.
I posted a stone carving from a building in Chicago yesterday and observed that it was done in an “era when there was time, talent and money to hand carve decorations for skyscrapers.” The building you are looking at is another sort of sky scraper: it is the Notre Dame de Paris. It is the most famous Gothic Cathedral and it took over a 100 years to construct. It, too, was done in an era when there was at least time and talent to construct such buildings.
The carvings in this photo are over 1000 years old.
Well, it’s not gurgling here and this isn’t an ordinary downspout. It’s a gargoyle and it is located on the famous Sainte-Chapelle chapel, just around the corner from the Notre Dame de Paris. It is a marvelous combination of stained glass, stone and air. It’s not on the “normal” tourists stops so you’ll have to make special efforts to get there. Interestingly, its inside the main judicial complex in central Paris so you’ll also have to go through metal detectors.
One of the architectural features of many Gothic churches are the carved downspouts, known as gargoyles. And the sound of water rushing through the monster’s mouth was described as a “gurgle,” a word derived directly from the name of these conduits.