By Diana Crandall / December 30, 2018

Pop Culture Gargoyles Are Hidden in Plain Sight

Time to invest in a good pair of binoculars, if you don’t have them already.

Notre Dame de Dijon. CHRISTOPHE.FINOT/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/CC BY 2.0
Notre Dame de Dijon. CHRISTOPHE.FINOT/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/CC BY 2.0

Gargoyles have come a long way from existing to avert rain water and any perceived evil eyes. Originally emerging in 13th century Europe, Atlas Obscura reports that gargoyles had their second coming in the 18th and 19th century — and that centuries of weather required 20th and 21st century stone carvers to give them a makeover.

And while many carvers meticulously restored the gargoyles to their original form, others had vision of what an updated gargoyle should look like. Take the Washington National Cathedral, for example, which famously had Darth Vader carved into its edifice in the 1980s. (The building also boasts “The Crooked Politician” and “The Fly Holding Raid Spray.”)

The Astronaut at Catedral de Salamanca. ROQUIC/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/CC BY 3.0

Others are otherworldly, like at Catedral de Salamanca, where an astronaut was created in 1992, or futuristic, like the anime robot Grendizer at Chapelle de Bethlehem. Take a deeper look at the gargoyles and history at Atlas Obscura.

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