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March 12, 2014
The garish, gothic gargoyle: I recently saw many astride Notre Dame looking positively disinterested.
Many more appeared to be snarling at unseen threats (invading English gargoyles perhaps?) and some even appeared to be outstretched and ready to take flight. Regarding this latter group, I wondered, "Why would they flee such a paragon of French Gothic architecture?" After all, such a perch does have an outstanding view of the Seine.
And I suspect their view of the city at night is "pas mal" to boot.
Occasionally when in Paris seated at a café with my journal, I like to pretend I'm Degas or Manet or Seurat or Morisot or Ingres or Walter Mitty--and sketch something. And so it was on this occasion at a bistro on Quai Montebello where I rendered the masterpiece you see here.
And it was the waitress who, upon seeing my magnum opus, explained to me that the role of this form of outstretched gargoyle has less to do with warding off evil spirits and more to do with warding off rainwater.
For you see they are, by way of being, "gutters". Hence the root of the word (from the Old French gargouille--meaning throat).
What would a gargoyle say if it could? Something guttural perhaps?
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