Definition: A style of decorative art characterized by fanciful or fantastic human or animal forms often interwoven with foliage, or similar figures that may distort the natural into absurdity, ugliness, or caricature.

Grotesques are differentiated from “gargoyles” by virtue of their function. Gargoyles are decorative pieces that have an embedded water tube meant to divert water from the roofs of the buildings where they’re mounted.

Grotesques (sometimes called “Green Men”) are a common decoration found on buildings throughout Europe and the United States. They’re used for decorative purposes and serve no particular function beyond that.

The examples pictured here were found decorating windows of the courthouse in my hometown.

Ron Nath is a retired public sector employee living in Des Moines, IA. He has dabbled in photography for nearly 50 years.

See Ron Nath's Noise.