Stone Carvings of France

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The photos on this page were taken during a month-long trip through France in October of 2011. Gargoyles on the ancient buildings of Europe were architectural necessities that functioned to direct water away from masonry walls and thereby prevent erosion. There is virtually no written record that was kept that illuminates the history of why such bizarre figures were designed or chosen for this purpose. And bizarre they are, running the gamut of fierce animal faces, imaginary creatures, and occasionally but only rarely human figures. Many, if not most, are grotesque and intentionally frightening and some are lewd. And yet they often graced the predominantly Catholic churches and cathedrals. They are present in virtually any city, town, or village that has any remnant of its medieval past. Most of these stone carvings are 400 to 500 years old. I hope you enjoy viewing our photographs of gargoyles and strange creatures mounted on the churches of France.

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Robert D. Stephens
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All photographs are the property of Robert Stephens and TheWorldinLight Photographic Gallery. Unauthorized reproduction or use is prohibited by US copyright law.