Monday, December 9, 2013

Nidaros Cathedral. Gargoyles and Gustav Vigeland .

Vigeland! Figuring out this gargoyle means holding down your jaw with your left hand, while circling up your right hand over top and jamming up your eyebrows at us fools below, about to enter the hallowed transept memorializing Saint Olaf.

But what are you doing?  This is an update, obviously, but you, dear Gustav, have set forth a jester who makes us interact before we go about our business.Vet everything, says the Gargoyle.  Do I have my hands right?

This place makes us use our eyes and heads. What shall be the metaphor, analogy, similes from gargoyles. Here, the jester at Trondheim Cathedral, with the ears of an ass, granted broad freedoms of speech, and granting nobody respect. Dressed, in real life, perhaps, in motley, one leg in one color, the other in another. Pass beneath with your dignity intact, at your peril. Histories of jesters: a role global. See http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/640914.htm/ Is this one of the works of Gustav Vigeland, commissioned as part of the vast makeover in the 19th-20th Centuries?


The figure of speech:  A metaphor. The Cathedral at Trondheim is itself a motley. One piece of this, another piece of that. Were you fooled? This structural development was necessary, since records and images were destroyed along with the building's parts (burnt stone walls remaining) in multiple disasters.  Serious reconstruction, patching up and rebuilding anew began in 1869.  Architects and artists exercised their own creative imaginings of what might have been there, or should have.

Gustav Vigeland, who was born that year, is Norway's preeminent sculptor, and became among those commissioned in the ultimate re-do.  He had particular success (measured in viewer delight) in the gargoyles, but finding Vigeland in a building touted as medieval is jarring.  See http://www.vigeland.museum.no/en/collection/nidaros  So set aside the rules, that a medieval gargoyle was intended to frighten, give a foretaste of hell to come for the wayward, ridicule the unworthy. See http://www.pantheon.org/articles/g/gargoyle.html  Nidaros' gargoyles instead miss that particular mark, but succeed in delight. Fine works, but medieval only in echo.
 

This is a medieval site, with reconstructions and reimaginings of what might have been once here, or from time to time.  But is is not to be compared with those buildings that in fact substantially survived.  It is no longer a medieval building if there is no consistency of structure, is that so? This place had no innards left at one point, only burned stone walls, if even that.  The parts seen now are in the style of Gothic and Romanesque, but together they do not always fit. The main entrance facade is in the spirit of the Gothic, and the side entryways are in the spirit of Romanesque, with Gothic counterpoints and additions.  Still, jarring.  Which of theses fine gargoyles in their own right might be the work of Gustav Vigeland? Daily Mail on Gustav Vigeland, The Weirdest Statues in the World. 


Where was this fellow when the people needed him to cry Fire.

Vigeland:  and modernity.  The Gargoyle-master is fond of large mouths, many bemoanings.


Families. Teaching the young.

 Gustav Vigeland, who was born in the year that reconstruction began, is Norway's preeminent sculptor. Delight in the gargoyles, and other fine works inside and out, but finding Vigeland in a building touted as medieval is misleading and jarring.  See http://www.vigeland.museum.no/en/collection/nidaros   A medieval gargoyle was intended to frighten, give a foretaste of hell to come for the wayward, ridicule the unworthy. See http://www.pantheon.org/articles/g/gargoyle.html  Nidaros' gargoyles instead miss that particular mark, but succeed in delight. Fine works, but medieval only in echo.
 

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