The Art of Transformation. Grotesques in Sixteenth-Century Italy

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Autore: Maria Fabricius Hansen
Anno edizione: 2018
Collana:  Analecta Romana Instituti Danici. Supplementa, 49
Isbn: 978-88-7140-864-4
Materie: Storia dell'Arte
Formato: 24x27,5
Pagine: 476

Recensione di Histara - Les comptes rendus (leggi recensione)

‘Grotesque’ is commonly used to describe the surprising, monstrous, or bizarre, across historical periods and in all forms of cultural expression. This book uses ‘grotesque’ in its specific art-historical sense, which designates ornamental frescoes typical of the thriving Italian city-states of the sixteenth century. As site-specific art, grotesques were remarkably popular in the palaces and villas of the elite within this rather brief period in the history of art, from the late fifteenth century to around 1600. Originally, ‘grotesques’ (grottesche) referred to the frescoes that decorated the socalled grottoes of ancient Roman ruins. Sixteenth-century grotesques, however, differ from their ancient predecessors due to the strategies of change and ambivalence that inform them. Interpreting sixteenth-century grotesques as an art of transformation, this book also considers other art forms, such as gardens, artificial grottoes, and decorative art, which were likewise conditioned by this contemporary preoccupation with metamorphosis in style and content. This extensively illustrated book analyzes grotesques thematically, focusing on the concept of the artist and notions of artistic creation as well as relationships to traditions of Antiquity and the medieval period, art and nature, and movement and space. It offers an overview of important tendencies in sixteenth-century visual culture that have been neglected in art histories of canonical great masters and autonomous easel painting, as known from museums. The Art of Transformation brings the grotesques of sixteenth-century Italy to the fore as a field in visual culture with the potential to transform conventional views concerning art of this period.

Recensione in Kunstchronik, 72, 7, 2019 (leggi recensione


Preface 1. Introduction 2. Brief Surveys The Place of Grotesques in Art History Sixteenth-Century Grotesques Grotesques outside Italy Imagination, Artistic License, and Monstrosity 3. In the Grottoes When You’re Strange: “Artists More Peculiar than the Grotesques” Female Monstrosities Figures of Time: Grotesques, Ruins, and the Attraction of Obscurities Humor and Horror Imagery of the Underworld 4. Traditions and Transformations Antiquity Revisited Intermezzo: All’antica? Medieval Continuities Traditions Transformed Grotesque Grotesques Transfigured Meanings: Enigmas, Hieroglyphs, and Metaphorical Thinking 5. Nature and Art Nature as Imagemaker Reflections of Nature – Reflections on Art Decorative Art, Garden, Grottoes, Architecture Art Collections and Other Alchemical Practices 6. Defining Art Style and the Linearity of Ornamentation Signatures and Self-Portraiture ARTIS CAMBII: The Art of Change 7. Moving Images Contrapposto and the Rhetorics of Figuration Passages of Art Movement and Space Worldviews, Witches, Sexuality 8. Conclusion Questions of Perception Notes Bibliography Photo Credits Index