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Paulette Singley- Devouring Architecture- Ruskin's Insatiable Grotesque

Paulette Singley- Devouring Architecture- Ruskin's Insatiable Grotesque

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Devouring Architecture: Ruskin's Insatiable GrotesqueAuthor(s): Paulette SingleySource:
Assemblage,
No. 32 (Apr., 1997), pp. 108-125Published by:
Stable URL:
Accessed: 02/05/2011 10:58
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Paulette
Singley
Devouring
Architecture:
Ruskin's
Insatiable
Grotesque
PauletteSingleyis an assistantprofessorof architectureat Iowa StateUniversityandadoctoralcandidate inarchitecturalhistoryat PrincetonUniversity.
Assemblage32: 108-125?1997bytheMassachusettsInstituteofTechnology
Despitetheperilsinvolvedwithnaminghistoricalorigins-thecomfortof a stablebeginning,thetemptationofcleanchronologicaldivisions,and thepromiseofpositiveprogression-thegrotesquethrivesuponandembodies thedilemma ofbeginningsandopenings. AccordingtoGiorgioVasari,whodocumentsitsinauguralbirth,thegrotesquebeginswhen itemergesfromoutofthesubterraneancav-erns ofNero'sDomus Aureaand breaksinto thelightof Re-naissancearttheory.Vasarinarratesthisdiscoveryinthe lifeof Morto da Feltro:Mortorestored thepaintingofgrotesquesin a mannermore likethe ancientthan wasachievedbyanyotherpainter,andfor thishedeservesinfinitepraise,in that itisafterhisexamplethattheyhavebeenbroughtinourownday,bythe handsof GiovannidaUdine andothercraftsmen,tothegreatbeautyand excellencethat we see.For,althoughthe saidGiovanniand othershave car-riedthemto absoluteperfection,itisnonethelesstruethat thechiefpraiseisduetoMorto,who wasthe first tobringthemtolightand to devotehis wholeattentiontopaintingsof thatkind,whicharecalledgrotesquesbecausetheywere foundfor themostpartin thegrottoesoftheruinsof Rome.11Astheaftermathof thismomentousbirth,extensivescholar-shiponthegrotesqueinartand literaturehas beendevel-opedtosuch an extentthatit would seempossibletodiscuss thissubjectwithoutrepeating,adinfinitum,Vasari'saccountofitsorigins.12Theetymonofgrotto,buried within110
 
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