Saturday, June 28, 2014

Another Modern: New Gargoyles on a Gothic Chapel

The humor website just published an article called “7 Awesome Buildings That Look Like They’re Designed by Kids”. One of these (#5) is a small Gothic chapel near the French city of Nantes, the Chapelle de Bethléem. In the course of a restoration done between 1993 and 1995, the decision was made to replace the lost pinnacles at the corners of the building, and the statues on them; a sculptor named Jean-Louis Boistel was then allowed to create a thematic sculptural program for each pinnacle. So for example, the “pinnacle of memory” has statues of the Four Evangelists.

The symbols of St. Matthew, Luke and John on the pinnacle of memory. Image from the chapel’s website
This is not the why the chapel was noted in the Cracked article, however. This is:

Yes, that is Gizmo from the movie Gremlins. And of course, if you feed him after midnight....

Gizmo and the bad Gremlin share the “pinnacle of the reckless” with a character from a Japanese anime popular in France in the 1990s, a good and heroic robot called Goldorak.

The program of the “pinnacle of origins” includes a rather unique representation of “nothingness” or “the void”, understood as a rival to God inasmuch as it wants to destroy what God has created, but will be defeated by God.

One would assume that there could only be one church in the world which has a representation of the xenomorph from the Alien movies... but one would be wrong. Paisley Abbey in Scotland was decorated with one at almost the same time as the Chapelle de Bethléem. (This appears to be the baby alien when it makes its altogether memorable entrance... or rather, exit.)

For a time the famous astronaut on the door of the New Cathedral in Salamanca looked liked his arm was bitten off during an encounter with a xenomorph...

but it has subsequently been fixed.

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