What is a grotesque?

Those who are interested in art, it will be very interesting to learn about such a genre as "grotesque". This style is quite widespread in architecture, literature, and even music. Let's take a closer look at what the grotesque is.

Concept of grotesque

The term "grotesque" is taken from painting. The so-called wall painting, found in the "grottoes" - the basement of Titus, during archaeological excavations. These excavations were carried out in Rome (XV-XVI centuries) on the site where the baths of Emperor Titus once were. In the premises filled with earth, the famous Italian artist Raphael and his students found an unusual painting, which was later called “grotesque” (from the Italian word grotta - “grotto”, “underground”). Later, the term "grotesque" was extended to other forms of art - music, literature. The definition of “grotesque” sounds like a type of imagery, which is based on a bizarre, contrasting combination of fiction and reality, comic and tragic, beautiful and ugly. In art, the sphere of the grotesque includes multi-valued images that are created by the artist’s imagination, in which life gets a rather contradictory refraction.The grotesque images do not allow their literal interpretation, retaining the features of mystery. There are other meanings of the term "grotesque":

  1. The grotesque is a type of artistic imagery; ornament, where figurative and decorative motifs (animals, plants, human forms, masks) are fancifully combined.
  2. The chopped font (grotesque, sans serif, gothic type) is a sans serif font.

Let's go back to the story. So, Rafael used the style of "grotesque" as a sample of the decorations of the Vatican's beds, his students - for painting the ceilings, walls of palaces. The renowned Italian master of the Renaissance, Benvenuto Cellini, engraved the grotesque on the blades of swords.

The grotesque in the mythology of the primitive and ancient world is rather difficult to understand. If we talk from the point of view of modern aesthetics, then there are numerous grotesque elements. For example, the works are an Egyptian tale about a doomed prince, antique motifs of harpies, sirens. But it is also safe to say that the impression of the grotesque was not only not the task of the author of such works, but also the listener perceived their grotesque to a lesser degree.

What is the grotesque in literature

In literature, the grotesque is a comic device that combines the terrible and the ridiculous, the sublime and the ugly, that is, it combines the incompatible. The comic grotesque differs from irony and humor in that the funny and funny in it are inseparable from the sinister and terrible, hyperbole and alogism. What is hyperbole? The grotesque, as mentioned above, is an exaggerated, contrasting combination of reality and fiction, and hyperbole is a stylistic figure of intentional exaggeration (for example, “I told you this a million times” or “we have enough food for a year”). Usually, the images of the grotesque bear a tragic sense in themselves. In the grotesque, behind the pronounced external improbability and fantasy, lies a deep artistic generalization of the most important phenomena of life. Examples of the literary grotesque include the novel “The Nose” by N. V. Gogol, “Little Tzakhes, nicknamed Zinnober” by E. T. A. Hoffmann.

Grotesque in music

Now, a little about music: size and rhythm. In the grotesque they must be present and felt, otherwise it will not work. Here are some examples of music groups performing songs in this direction:

  • The fifth studio album, The Golden Age of Grotesque, by famous singer Marilyn Manson.In his work, the grotesque is not the last place.
  • Group Comatose Vigil (song - Suicide Grotesque).
  • The fictional death metal band Detroit Metal City (song Grotesque).

What is a grotesque: architecture

Often, the grotesque is confused with gargoyles, but stone carving in the style of "grotesque" was not intended to divert water. This type of sculpture is also called chimera. The term “gargoyle” was referred to as eerie carved figures, which were specially created to divert rainwater from the walls of the building.

Summing up, I will note that as a direction of art, the grotesque is necessary. The grotesque fights with ordinariness, prohibitions. It makes our inner world much richer and opens up new opportunities for creativity.

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