Charles Meryon’s “Le Stryge” (a Grotesque)

A Scholarly Skater

While doing some research, the following note about gargoyles caught my attention. “They are perhaps most famously illustrated in the etchings of the 19th-century French printmaker Charles Méryon.” (Clarke 107)

What’s this? I had never heard of Méryon before, but I figured that I should look him up if he’s somehow significant to gargoyles. I soon learned that Charles Méryon (1821-1868) was a very talented French etcher who is best known for his series of prints depicting Paris. (Etching is a form of printmaking.) One of his most famous prints depicts a grotesque on the façade of Notre-Dame de Paris.

Charles Meryon - Le Stryge Charles Méryon, “Le Stryge”, 1853, etching on paper. The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Google Art Project. We’ve all seen this little dude. He’s not an actual medieval gargoyle. He’s in fact a 19th-century grotesque created by restorer Viollet-le-Duc, but he’s certainly the most famous “gargoyle” on Notre-Dame if not…

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