Mini Grotesque History

When did grotesques first sneer at mortals below from churches in Medieval England?

Half-man half-beasts have been depicted in art from virtually all cultures long before their sculpted cousins.   Or offspring.   Or descendents.   Whatever.

The Anglo Saxons brought their practice of stone carvings to burgeoning England. Highly detailed runes, lattice designs, and symbolic images were skillfully carved in stone reliefs (a linear carving that maintains the overall shape of the stone) and monuments.

The Normands brought their practice of stone carvings to burgeoning England. Highly detailed ruins, lattice, and symbolic images were skillfully carved in stone reliefs (a linear carvin...

I already wrote that. yep. The Normands noticed that their new found friends, the Anglo Saxons' (very agreeable once enslaved) art was very similar to their own. Soon everyone (who was left alive) left their pagan gods for spiritual complication and turned stone into crosses. English monks with their holy gift of nothing else to do created elaborate illuminations (illustrations) on manuscript borders depicting demons and beasts.

Finally, the demons and beasts leapt off the page and into 3D form (now with new and improved terror) during the English Gothic period (1180'ish - 1520'ish). These sometimes menacing, sometimes threatening, sometimes cute but not sometimes 'y' grotesques perched their behinds on medieval architecture and they're not leaving.

They remain (well...some. Thanks warring factions.) reminding us of the pain of sin and the threat of defense. 'Cause who doesn't need a grotesque protector. Sometimes it takes a demon to destroy a demon.


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