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Ornament & the Grotesque

Fantastical Decoration

written by Alessandra Zamperini

Thames and Hudson | ISBN 9780500238561

Hardback – 308 pages

$145.00

Member’s price: $130.50
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When Neros Golden House was unearthed in Rome at the end of the 15th century, its sumptuous interiors not only sparked renewed interest in ancient culture but also revealed an unfamiliar, playful style of Classical ornament. The walls were adorned with parodies of classical mythology, fantastic hybrid monsters, images of perverse eroticism, impossible architectural visions, giant butterflies, mischievous putti, monkeys and sphinxes a whole repertoire of uninhibited imagination where nothing was taboo.However, it was Raphaels decoration of the Vatican Loggie in c.1518 that made the grotesque into a European-wide fashion, and it soon became an integral decorative feature of religious buildings and the most lavish residences. This book reveals the key periods, influences and artists that shaped grotesque ornament, from its origins in Roman and medieval art to the discovery of the Golden House, the Classical revival and its most important stylistic developments between the 15th and 19th centuries.

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