The Art of Transformation. Grotesques in Sixteenth-Century Italy - M. F. Hansen (Analecta Romana Instituti Danici. Supplementa XLIX)


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    Numero Pagine:476

    Illustrazioni:400 a colori 

    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.



    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

    Photo Credits