A pair of English stone grotesques

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Period
15th century, probably Northern England
Material
Brick
Dimensions
39.5 x 25 cm
Provenance

The collection of Peter Petrou

The term 'grotesque' stems from the Italian 'grotteschi' which may be translated as 'stemming from a cave'. At the end of the 15th century in Italy, the palace of Nero, the Domus Aurea, was rediscovered. This palace was built to resemble a grotto and it was adorned with paintings of whimsical, symmetrical figures, denoted as 'grotteschi'. In architecture the term is used to denote a carved ornamental stone figure, not to be confused with the water-spouting gargoyles. It is used to denote a phantastic or mythical figure used for decorative purposes.

The term 'grotesque' stems from the Italian 'grotteschi' which may be translated as 'stemming from a cave'. At the end of the 15th century in Italy, the palace of Nero, the Domus Aurea, was rediscovered. This palace was built to resemble a grotto and it was adorned with paintings of whimsical, symmetrical figures, denoted as 'grotteschi'. In architecture the term is used to denote a carved ornamental stone figure, not to be confused with the water-spouting gargoyles. It is used to denote a phantastic or mythical figure used for decorative purposes. The present ornaments most certainly fit this description with their wide eye-like sockets and nose-shaped arches. 

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