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"Gargoyles: Animal Imagery and Artistic Individuality in Medieval Art"
Janetta Rebold Benton
in Nona C. Flores, ed., Animals in the Middle Ages: A Book of Essays, New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1996, 147-165

"Animals, like so many other subjects in the art of the Middle Ages, were often used as didactic devices in the teaching of Christianity. ... The need for readily intelligible imagery fostered, understandably, conformity and convention rather than individuality and invention -- open expression of personal artistic style cannot be considered a characteristic of medieval art. ... But eqo, and the need for its visual assertion, seem to be innate components of the human animal. Certain types of animal imagery offered medieval artists rare opportunities for individual expression -- opportunities that seem to have been seized and relished. This eassay is not concerned with readily recognized animals that play well-understood and conspicuous roles in Christian art, such as the lion, lamb, or fish. Rather, the focus is on the unusual or imaginary animals that play questionable roles, often in inconspicuous locations, specifically, as gargoyles." - Benton

Language: English

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