Gargoyle Garden Statues
Gargoyle statues for modern gardens
Do you love to collect gargoyle statues? I do.
Did you know in medieval times that no two gargoyles were ever the same?
In medieval Europe artists created hundreds of fantastic forms, from mystical beasts to gruesome looking monsters, to adorn the cathedrals of the town. Many of these gargoyles were grotesque and frightening but others were more whimsical and even amusing.
Gargoyles are fascinating sculptures because the artists blended animals, mystical beasts and human forms to create new creatures that expressed human-like features and emotions.
I think that is why gargoyle statues are still a popular choice in modern gardens. Gargoyles appeal to our imagination and can often reflect aspects of our own personality.
The neo-Gothic artists of today have created a huge range of gargoyle statues to suit just about every taste, so I bet you find something here you love, even if you are not into Gothic culture!
Brief History of Gargoyles
Gargoyles were originally an early form of architecture that are found as far back as ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.
Gargoyles are most commonly associated with medieval Gothic architecture where elaborate figures were carved and placed on buildings to shoot the rainwater out and away from the masonry walls, to stop it from trickling down and eroding the mortar between the bricks.
After drainage systems were introduced the water spouts remained and artists began to create other fantastic and imaginative creatures that served an ornamental purpose only on medieval cathedrals, churches and homes.
Although people call these creatures gargoyles, if a stone carving does not carry water ,it is actually called a "grotesque". Sometimes parts of several animals were combined to create a mystical creature called a "chimera".
To find out more about the history and symbolism of gargoyles visit my blog at www.gargoylestore.blogspot.com
Large Garoyle Statues
I love this gargoyle by noted neo-Gothic artist Sandra Lira. The musculature is very detailed and like his sinewy form and vampire wings. This macabre creature looks ready to swoop down on any intruders.
This three foot gargoyle perches on top of a ball-topped plinth. His features are a mix of grotesque and dragon. I love the expression on his face! Perfect for collectors of Gothic gargoyles.
The Symbolism of Gargoyles
What is the meaning of gargoyles?
To understand the meaning of medieval gargoyles you must first imagine the medieval person's powerful belief in God. The medieval cathedral was built to be the most powerful and beautiful structure on earth. No task was considered too difficult for the glory of God. The theory was that the more grand and ornate the architecture, the more the building would be seen as praising God.
Gargoyles adorned many of the cathedrals and it is thought they were served as a visual warning or a sort of "sermon in stone" to teach a largely illiterate population how to behave in a non-verbal way. The frightening nature of gargoyles was destined to be a clear and constant reminder that, alongside the beauty of the cathedral, the devil and original sin exist. Their purpose was to frighten and to startle man as he went about his everyday life.
Not all gargoyles were designed to teach religious doctrines. Some were simply grotesque as it was believed that scary looking creatures could also frighten away evil spirits,. They were placed on the outside of the buildings to do just that.
So your garden gargoyle will likewise offer protection to your home.
If you have a large home and garden you might want to choose a gargoyle statue with large wings.
It is commonly believed that winged gargoyles come to life at night and fly around your property, circling the home and garden, watching out for intruders and turning away evil spirits. They return to their roost before the sun comes up so no-one will ever suspect!
If you look around medieval churches you will also see that some gargoyles that are very amusing with comical expressions and animated poses. These gargoyles appear to be purely for entertainment but in medieval times the devil himself was often seen to be a bit of a clown, terrifying and repulsive but in a funny way.
The gargoyle in this photo pulls a face that was called "gurning" in medieval times. It was thought to be very funny!
Many people prefer comical garden gargoyle statues. Something that entertains and amuses their visitors and brings a smile to their face every day.
Gargoyle Statue Ideas For Your Garden
Watch this to get some inspiration for using gargoyles in your garden!
Designer Resin Gargoyles
While gargoyle statues were originally carved from stone today you will find many beautiful gargoyles designed by neo-Gothic artists cast in poly resin.
Polyresin is popular modern material for garden ornaments that can include ground stone material in the mix. Resin has the appearance of stone or concrete without the weight of these materials which is great if you want a particularly large gargoyle in your garden.
Designer resin gargoyle statues offer heightened detail and they are lightweight and easy to move if you want to change position of your statue in the garden. Resin gargoyle statues are also easy to fix to doorways or garden walls.They tend to be much less expensive than ornaments made from more traditional materials like stone.
Dedo Garden Gargoyles
The Little Dedo gargoyle is one of my favourites!
Even people who aren't really into grotesque creatures or Gothic things love this Dedo!
Legend has it when the Notre Dame cathedral was built in Paris (around 1160) a nun from a little convent in Provence disguised herself as a workman to enter the work site and quickly carve the little statue of Dedo before placing it on the highest roof. She didn't like all the mean-looking grotesque creatures being so close to God so she placed Dedo up high enough to be seen by God Himself.
The little gargoyle was only discovered centuries later when a little boy, who was lost in the cathedral, fell off a ledge and tumbled down the roof into the arms of the little gargoyle.
After this discovery, the creature became known as Little Dedo, the gargoyle with the pointy ears and crossed toes.
You will find a number of variations of this gargoyle statue and they are all just as cute!
Dragon Gargoyle Statues
Using dragon gargoyle statues in your garden gives it an ancient, timeless feel.
Dragons are believed to have lived in protected caves where they often guarded great treasure so why not include a dragon gargoyle in your garden to act as the guardian of your treasure and ward off evil spirits?
Dragon gargoyle statues give form to the legends and myths of Medieval Europe where dragons were seen as malevolent creatures of the earth. A medieval dragon was a powerful force to reckon with!
I love this dragon gargoyle because its exactly how I picture a medieval dragon with it's beast-like head, narrow snout, sharp teeth and fierce expression. The scales on the body and the long tail are very detailed and I like how he is wrapped around the mystical orb.
This would look great along a garden path or maybe beside a front entrance.
Gargoyle Gift Ideas
I think this is adorable. Hand finished in a brick colour. Suitable for indoors or outdoors,
Another Little Dedo gargoyle - so cute!
Cat lovers also like this Winged Cat gargoyle with it's little fangs and wings. Looks great sitting up on the bookshelf.
Awesome evil looking Gothic gargoyle. This small figurine is the perfect gift for gargoyle collectors.
What do they mean?
Many gargoyle statues come in the form of animals. Grotesque gargoyles often imitate or incorporate features of wild or domestic animals or mythical beasts. When you chose a gargoyle statue for your garden you might be interested in the symbolism of these animals.
Animals in medieval Europe were were believed to have special powers and spirits. This information was detailed in a book of beasts called a "Bestiary" with illustrations and text that were a combination of fact and fiction.
Each animal symbol had a religious or moralistic meaning. These could be positive or negative. Certain animals like the lion and the dog were carved as gargoyles more than other animals.
Lions were frequently depicted as gargoyles and, as you know, were referred to as the "King of the Beasts". They were always the first animal to be described in the Bestiaries and were often associated with the sun, probably because of their large golden mane. They were also the symbol of pride - one of the seven deadly sins.
Dogs are known for their loyalty to their master. They are believed to act as carers and protectors to frighten away evil. They were noted in the Bestiaries for their great wisdom, logic and ability to reason.
Goats were described as having very acute vision so they can "see all" just like God who is described as "all knowing". Goats were usually seen in a favourable light by Christ but they were also associated with the sin of lust - their cloven hooves, tail and horns were likened to the devil himself.
The monkey's similarity to humans made them a good subject to imitate what is good and bad in human behaviour. In medieval times monkeys were seen as a status symbol but they were also thought to be stupid, vain and malicious.They were associated with the deadly sin of sloth but I still personally love gargoyles that are based on cheeky monkeys!
Here is a quick summary of Animal Symbols & The Seven Deadly Sins
- Lion - Pride
- Goat - Lust
- Wolf - Greed
- Monkey - Sloth
- Bear - Gluttony
- Serpent - Envy
- Boar - Anger
- Hope this makes choosing a gargoyle for you garden a bit more interesting!