Head of a Grotesque


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304

The comical effect of the muttonchop whiskers, bulbous nose, enormous eyes, and open mouth of this grotesque head demonstrates the extreme expressions found in marginal sculpture. The head resembles others on corbels supporting the roof cornice of one of the principal churches in Châlons-sur-Marne. The bold features, part of a visual language specific to medieval buildings, are meant to be seen from a distance. Recent research suggests that such bizarre heads may have been intended to ward off evil.

Head of a Grotesque, Limestone, French

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