On Beautiful Grotesqueness

- The Secret Passages
- Le facciate graffite
- The Turtle and the Sail 1
- The Turtle and the Sail 2
The story of an old turtle that Cosimo I de Medici met when he was a child and which subsequently became his symbol (the so-called impresa, that is, his personal emblem). Many of the various coats of arms inside Palazzo Vecchio show a turtle with a sail swelled by the wind on its shell, accompanied by the Latin motto “festina lente,“ which means “hurry slowly.” This is one of the symbols that Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici adopted as his personal device. (A device is an allegorical image accompanied by a short phrase (motto) that is intended to specify, in a poetic manner, the merit and virtues of action of a gentleman. The device could therefore be defined as a small illustration of an ethical principle).


- The Vasari Corridor. The building of the Uffizi ordered by Cosimo I (de' Medici) and supervised by Giorgio Vasari was commenced in 1560. The idea was to get the thirteen Guilds and Magistrates who administered the City under one roof or ... in closer proximity to Cosimo so he could control them better. As a collateral benefit the Medicis were to get the top floor for their art, theatre, etc. without paying anything.
At the same time Cosimo's wealthy wife, Eleanor of Toledo, had bought and was extending the Pitti Palace on the other side of the Arno. So, in 1565, well before the Uffizi had been completed, Vasari was also set to work building his "corridor" - a collection of linked galleries between the Palazzos Pitti and Vecchio which lent a new meaning to the phrase "journey to work" for Cosimo ... no more bodyguards or mixing with the masses, and plenty of opportunity to secretly spy on the activities of his subjects - a control freak's paradise! Cosimo even ordered the closure of the smelly butchers' shops then on the Ponte Vecchio (Paradoxplace).

- Ceiling painted with grotesques. It was Francesco I who decided to use the long loggia on the top floor of the Uffizi to set up a Gallery to house ancient statues and portraits of the Medici family and of illustrious men. Between 1579 and 1581 the ceilings of the Gallery were frescoed with grotesque motifs. This was a type of decoration which had spread at the end of the fifteenth century, being inspired by the Roman wall paintings discovered in the archaeological excavations, especially those in Nero's domus aurea. The work was begun by Antonio Tempesta and continued by Alessandro Allori, with the assistance of a group of collaborators that included Ludovico Buti, Giovanmaria Butteri, Giovanni Bizzelli and Alessandro Pieroni (Uffizi).

- Uffizi Ceilings, 1579-81. 46 Ceilings in the East Wing of the Uffizi painted by Antonio Tempesta and Alessandro Allori - after the style of rooms decorated by Fabullus in the palace of Emperor Nero, discovered in Rome in the 1480s and then thought to be "grottoes" (Paradoxplace).

- Stanzino delle Matematiche. Small room next to the Tribuna del Buontalenti in the Uffizi Gallery, where Grand Duke Ferdinand I de' Medici (1549-1609) had installed the collection of scientific instruments begun by his father Cosimo I (1519-1574). The Stanzino was intended to house the instruments, the treatises explaining how to use them, maps, city plans, and wooden models of war machines and fortifications. The ceiling was frescoed between 1599 and 1600 by Giulio Parigi (1571-1635), with a "grotesque" decoration in which many vignettes faithfully depicted a significant part of the collection and scenes of famous inventions, ancient and modern (Museo Galileo).

- N. Dacos, La découverte de la Domus Aurea et la formation des grotesques à la Renaissance, London, 1969
- Ewa Kuryluk, Salome and Judas in the Cave of Sex - The Grotesque: Origins, Iconography, Techniques, Northwestern UP, 1987
- Museo dei Ragazzi, Palazzo Vecchio
- Grotesque, Wikipedia
- Thierry Bézecourt, Grotesques, Bloc-notes, 2.10.2006
- Lynne Rutter, Grotesque Obsession, The Ornamentalist, 10.4.2008
- Grottesca, Decorative Painting Courses, Florence. The decorative style called "Grottesca (grotesque)" that characterizes many famous interiors in Florence and Rome. Grottesca (grotesque) decoration is a renaissance style which takes its name from the grottos, or archaeological digs, which took place in renaissance times. These excavations unearthed richly decorated antique Roman interiors, specifically the villa of Nerone, The Domus Aurea, excavated in Rome in 1480. The artists of the day were so taken by this lively and versatile decorative style that they incorporated it immediately in their commissioned works. Raphael decorated the Logge of the Vatican in this style and later in Florence, Vasari's workshop decorated the Palazzo Vecchio with Grottesca (grotesque) motifs. The style is infinitely adaptable and is fun for artists because it is fresh, colourful, and contains many unexpected amusing elements.


- Commons: Pompeian Painting Styles
- Commons: Roman Frescoes, Fourth Style
- Commons: Grotesque

Lynne Rutter
Katrin Monahan

- A novel form of target practice captured on one of the Grotesque ceilings decorating the East Corridor of the Uffizi Gallery (The Vasari Corridor, by Adrian Fletcher - Paradoxplace).

Addendum. Wikipedia: Grotesque and Grotesque body.

DEFINICION DE GROTESCO - Que por su deformidad, mal gusto o extravagancia produce reacciones muy distintas, como risa, burla o rechazo (El País).
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