My readers always keep me informed when there is something I should see on the Net. This topic was suggested by Walter S. Arnold, a sculptor from Chicago who makes his living carving stone creatures. Silly me, I replied "There couldn't possibly be five good Internet sites about gargoyles." "To the contrary", he said, and pointed me to his resource list. Starting with his recommendations, I did a little research of my own and compiled this list of the top gargoyle sites for families.
The word gargoyle shares a root with the word gargle, coming from the old French word for throat, gargouille. A true gargoyle has a waterspout. Other unusual carved creatures are properly called grotesques. Is anyone still carving such creatures? Meet Walter S. Arnold. Arnold started sculpting in stone at the age of twelve. At twenty he apprenticed in the marble studios of Pietrasanta, Italy. Today he has his own studio in Chicago and on the Web, where he shares his art with us.
Professor Begieral of Le Moyne College presents an academic exploration of the role of gargoyles in Medieval culture. You can tour the exhibits at your own speed: streaker (mostly photos), stroller (some commentary), or student (the entire text). Professor Begieral's work focuses on debunking the idea that the Middle Ages were a culturally dark period. She shows examples of gargoyles and Gothic architecture to prove her point.
You don't have to be in New York to enjoy these virtual walks around the city, peering up at the monsters. "They crouch in the corners and lurk under windows. They curl around drainpipes and blend into doorways. They're so clever at hiding most folks won't see them at all." You can choose from monster walks, a term coined by webmaster Amelia Wilson, down Wall Street, Madison, Gramercy Park, Central Park, the West Side and at the Brooklyn Museum. More walks will be added in the future. This Web site is illustrated with photographs and the writing is deliciously fun.
Some parts of this Web site are not working, but what remains is very good. Come here for the Natural and Unnatural History of the Gargoyle, and the French cathedral tour. What's not working is the welcoming audio clip, the English cathedral tour and the image map of the Duke University gargoyles. Too bad!
Disney's animated television series The Gargoyles follows the adventures of stone creatures that have came back to life. This fan page is one of the best of many Web sites devoted to the show. You'll find video clips, chat rooms, and a "Ask Greg" bulletin board for a chance to talk to the creator of The Gargoyles, Greg Weisman.