Monday, July 14, 2008

looking up . . .

An aspect of Princeton University

Gargoyles are considered either to repel evil or to represent it, I've read.











The university had many many of these, all over. Who do they represent? They were on the collegiate buildings, not just the chapel (more of a cathedral, really). Princeton was founded by Presbyterians, so this kind of iconography surely wasn't a part of that spiritual background, was it? My library has no answers . . .

13 comments:

kmkat said...

I suspect the gargoyles, and all the original architecture, are an homage to the medieval European heritage of universities in general and East Coast ones in particular. Princeton is a fairly conservative school (according to my older son, who toured it but decided not to apply for that very reason) and would seem likely to want to honor that heritage. (A less diplomatic way of saying that would be that Princeton is trying to recast itself as Oxford, Cambridge, and every other ivy-covered European university. But I would never say that ;-))

Virginia said...

Enjoyed your architectural features and gargoyles. My kind of photos. You really should consider a daily photo you know.

d. chedwick said...

I agree with kmkat-- sounds reasonable to me.

Today was a very turtle-y day and it has made me think about turtles. a lot.

Squirrel said...

wow it was Griffons in Graulhet and Gargoyles inside the shell! Time for some griffon and gargoyle hunting in Nyack.

Pecos Blue said...

I really like the one that looks like a star fish. They are often quite amusing.

R.L. Bourges said...

Lovely.

The keystone one is clearly a griffin.

From the placement, I would agree with the previous comments - these were meant as decorative accents. A bit like those at Abbaye Saint Michel in the neighboring town of Gaillac (I'll try to post them next Friday).

Thanks for the tour!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

I am very fond of gargoyles...have quite a few adorning our abode and am always quite mesmerized by chance encounters while on a wander....

I like wandering around princeton.... all those campuses made to look like they are centuries old!! and then of course all the campuses that are really centuries old (eg trinity in dublin; oxford in the uk; the sorbonne; etc etc)

Ash said...

Quite interesting...thanks for sharing!

Coffee Messiah said...

Sad to think these are disappearing.

There was a local HS out here that was rebuilt and they simply let them go. They ended up in an architectural store and someone purchased them, but still never made it back to the school.

dennis said...

Dennis thinks architecture is more interesting with these embellishments.

Britt-Arnhild said...

I always look for gargoyles when I visit old churches. I love their grotesque faces and bodies.

poppy fields said...

I don't know what they represent, but we see them all over here.

herhimnbryn said...

Aren't they detailed? loved the Dragon and Bear. If they are used as water spouts they are gargoyles. If not they are 'hunky-punks'.........see here.....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunky_Punk