Why is this statue blowing himself?

In Cologne, Germany, on the Cologne City Hall is a statue of Konrad von Hochstaden.

As you see in the Wiki article there is a picture of the carving. A closerlook at the bottom of Konrad’s statue is someone sucking his own penis. Hey- if we could reach, we’d never leave the house, amiright?

Anyway, what is the deal here? Did Konnie piss off someone? Was the sculptor honoring his incredible flexibility? Is it just a juvenile joke that the artist thought no one would notice because it’s 2 or 3 stories up?
Enquiring minds want to know!

I have literally no idea, but that’s awesome.

Is this a modern scupture to replace a statue (and building) destroyed during the bombings of WWII?

If so, a modern sculptor (or a 1950’s one) was having a laugh at the expense of his employers and future generations. The fact that “i became an internet sensation in 2012” suggests it was an old joke to locals or not noticed until now.

I can’t stop laughing. :smiley:

When I read the OP, I thought it would be some abstract carving at the base that maybe kinda sorta looked like someone blowing himself if you squinted at it sideways.

But there’s no question that that’s what it is. Nothing subtle about it. :smiley:

It’s kind of an old joke that the gargoyle sculptures were somewhat self-indulgent jokes by the artists of the day; although I don’t imagine this level of cheekiness so to speak was commonly accepted. i can only think the sculptor was responsible for the installation and did it while nobody else could see what was happening in detail from the ground. How high up is this thing? Based on the lettering size, I assume it’s quite a ways up.

Someone here, anonymous and with zero known credentials, said:

  • Nevermind, just found out. Apparently he put a large tax on “hops” in beer so he was unpopular and the stone-carvers did this because they didn’t like him. *

I can’t find anything to back that up but maybe someone else can.

If the info I’ve gleaned on various German sites is right;
1980s (replacements of older works wrecked in the war)
figure by Rainer Walk; console base by Herbert Rausch.

The ‘misericordia’ in old choir stalls-- sort of mini-seat-stabs you could lean against for a bit in long masses-- would frequently have imagery approaching this crass.

Why is this statue blowing himself?

Because he can?

Through this link, I get that the theme of this statue is a „Kölner Spiegel“ which translates literally as a “mirror of Cologne”.

Some more googling brings me here (link in German). I couldn’t find anything in English so I have to do with my poor German skills. From what I get, the statue in the OP is a variation on the theme of the Kallendresser, which represents someone who relieves itself in a rain drain.

The mentions in various Cologne sites that I have browsed seem to indicate that it’s just a particularly limber Kallendresser; the appearance of autofellation seems to be incidental. The base seems to be just a few decades old; no source about how it looked pre-restauration. It’s probably as medieval as this detail from the cathedral in Salamanca.

What would we do without this place?

Or the “Darth Vader” mask on the National Cathedral in the U.S.

It’s a “grotesque.” Like the gargoyles. Just a bit of fancy, an iota of macabre fantasy. The Europeans don’t have the horror of sexuality that the U.S. does (our loss!) I think that the church looks politely the other way, rationalizing these things as indications of human sin. You sometimes see skeletons and other death symbols, as – uh – what’s the Latin plural of memento mori?

After looking at this list of crazy margin illustrations from medieval manuscripts, I see no reason not to believe that the statue is 100% original and authentic.
Bizarre sexual humor wasn’t invented in the 20th century.

From what I can tell looking at the Google-translated version of the German Wikipedia articles on Kalendresser and Kölner Rathaus (Cologne City Hall), the Kallendresser (a man squatting to relieve himself) is a traditional element of Cologne decorative architechture. An influential architect in Cologne restored a house in the 1950s with an original medieval Kallendresser statue and helped to make the Kallendresser popular in modern times, which probably helps explain why such statues were included when the statuary on the tower of the Cologne City Hall was restored post-WWII. (There were apparently several in the original medieval tower decoration.)

I couldn’t find anything about whether that particular one was a copy of a medieval original, but I’ve certainly seen medieval decorations that would be considered obscene today, so it wouldn’t surprise me. In any event, it appears that the “Cologne mirror” is a traditional variation on the standard Kallendresser in which the man squatting has his head bent down and peers at the viewer from between his legs. I imagine that once a sculptor had that much planned out, with the natural proximity of mouth and genitals, the addition of the cock-sucking was just too obvious for anyone–whether modern or medieval–to resist.

ETA–I don’t know the etymology of Spiegel (Ger: mirror), but I suspect that “Cologne mirror” is a mistranslation, and that the phrase „Kölner Spiegel“ somehow refers to the fact that the figure looks back at the viewer.

That reminds me of this gargoyle on the National Cathedral in Washington DC.

“'Twas simpler tymes”

It’s just a guess, but maybe it has to do with another meaning of “Spiegel”, which hunters call the bottoms of deer and other game.

I can’t buy that “the appearance of autofellatio is incidental”. as davidm says, this is undoubtedly intentional. If it were “just incidental” there wouldn’t be the need to so carefully and lovingly detail the genitsalisa, or show the tip going very clearly into his mouth.
There’s also no doubt in my mind that this is original, not a recent restoration. (despite what capybara says – even if this is a modern restoration, it’s perfectly in line with period pieces) Having looked at lots of gargoyles, grotesques, and misercordia, not to mention margin illustrations in manuscripts and tapestries, this isn’t unheard of. Obscene images like this aren’t extremely common, but there are plenty of examples. Look at the things on the edges of the Bayeaux tapestry, for example.
Fubaya’s explanation strikes me as unlikely later rationalizing. It’s the kind of thing you hear from tour guides, but I wouldn’t trust it.

It might well be as Gargoyles were meant to be horrifying that was the nastiest thing the stone mason could think of! There is a long history of pretty graphic stone carvings though and not always so high up no one could see them.

Dunno but that pic and those 20 examples are getting saved. Great material!