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Gargoyle or Grotesque?
The Gothic Revival
Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral
Le Stryge
The Commission
des monuments historiques
Grotesque Humor
The Troyes Cathedral Corbel

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Gravely Gorgeous: Gargoyles, Grotesques and the Victorian Imagination
The Commission des monuments historiques
Click to enlargeIn France, Viollet-le-Duc encouraged intense scrutiny and documentation of the nation’s architectural heritage, particularly of its cathedrals. Séraphin Médéric Mieusement became the official photographer of French architectural landmarks for the Commission des monuments historiques in 1874. Over the next two decades, he carried out an ambitious project to photograph every cathedral in the country. His images provide important historical information as well as lyrical images of ancient structures. Mieusement's view of the flying buttresses of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Reims (left), for example, is an invaluable record of the cathedral’s condition in the late-nineteenth century, as well as a study of abstraction. After sustaining severe artillery fire in World War I, lead from the roofing of the cathedral melted and poured through the mouths of its gargoyles, choking them. A subsequent restoration was effective in rebuilding the great cathedral, but Mieusement’s image is a record of its unblemished state.
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