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What is Grotesque definition/concept

The most common criterion concerning art is to link it to the ideal of beauty . However, this rule is not always adhered to. In fact, the artistic phenomenon can express something sad, dismal and even horrible, disturbing or monstrous. In this sense, Aristotle reminds us that the purpose of art is not to like, but rather to represent. Grotesque

In popular culture, something grotesque is related to anything that has extravagant and exaggerated characteristics. In a nutshell, it is in bad taste and gross. In the art world, the grotesque has its own meaning.

The grotesque aesthetics in art began in the Renaissance

The term grotesque comes from the Italian word grotta, which means grotto or cave. Thus, in its original sense, this adjective expresses what is proper to a cave. This definition was projected onto Italian Renaissance art when a curiosity was discovered in the city of Rome: the Domus Aurea, a palace built by Nero after the fire in Rome. During the Renaissance, the inhabitants of Rome were unaware that this place corresponded to Nero’s palace and referred to it as “the Roman caves”.

Renaissance artists such as Rafael, Boticelli and Miguel Ángel were attracted by this place and in their works imitated the decoration of these caves. Many Italian artists were commissioned to decorate the ceilings and walls of churches with grotesque ornaments.

Thus, a new style in art emerged. The typical elements of grotesque artistic decoration are diverse: plants, animals, fruits, roots and mythological beings. All this served as a decorative element for the spacious rooms.

The grotesque style has traditionally been considered a minor artistic trend and driven by horror vacui or fear of emptiness (this trend creates the need to recharge empty places that are unadorned). In its origins, this ornamental tendency did not have a tenebrous aspiration, as it was simply a matter of decorating works of art in an original and comic way, especially murals, ceilings and walls.

an aesthetic category

For some art historians, the grotesque constitutes an aesthetic category . This category is present in all types of creation: deformed figures, horrible caricatures, sinister characters and sinister creatures.

In short , this category becomes a resource to distort reality in its most extravagant and ridiculous dimension. In this sense, it should be noted that the grotesque in art is related to our way of perceiving reality. The aesthetics of carnival parties represent a good example of our unique perception of reality.

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