Making Field Trips More Fun: Gargoyles and Grotesques

Washington National Cathedral in the District of Columbia features some artwork that Star Wars fans may find appealing. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Washington National Cathedral in the District of Columbia features some artwork that Star Wars fans may find appealing.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

It’s Wacky Wednesday! One favorite travel oddity is a certain grotesque at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The difference between a gargoyle and a grotesque, I have learned, is that gargoyles have spouts as part of a building’s drainage system. Grotesques apparently are merely decorative. Who knew gargoyles served such a practical function? I thought they’d just been used to keep bad energy away.

The Darth Vader grotesque at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., is difficult to see from the ground. A student’s drawing of the Star Wars villain won a competition, and so the Dark Knight was immortalized—on the cathedral and in its gift shop. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The Darth Vader grotesque at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., is difficult to see from the ground. A student’s drawing of the Star Wars villain won a competition, and so the Dark Knight was immortalized—on the cathedral and in its gift shop.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

If my church had had gargoyles and grotesques like these, I’d have been a much more willing attendee in my youthful years. The premise of seeing Darth Vader at the National Cathedral, though, can lure any number of youthful adventurers. They might even learn about a spectacularly good force while they’re there.

—Lori Tripoli

3 comments for “Making Field Trips More Fun: Gargoyles and Grotesques

  1. June 5, 2014 at 12:02 am

    This is way too cool! And good for them for having a sense of humor and letting Darth Vader be a part of their cathedral. 🙂

  2. BashfulAdventurer
    June 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Love it! I think kids become much more engaged with the art and the architecture while they’re looking for something relatively contemporary.
    -Lori

  3. Carole Tripoli
    June 12, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Loved pics and comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *