The Portrait of Eccentricity: Arcimboldo and the Mannerist Grotesque

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Penn State Press, 1987 - Art - 184 pages

In this companion to his The Cornucopian Mind and the Baroque Unity of the Arts, Maiorino examines the links between Renaissance and the modern versions of the Groteseque.

In this interdisciplinary study, the term &"eccentricity&" refers to styles of playful extravagance. Maiorino focuses on the rhetorical figures of excess employed by a critic-historian (Giorgio Vasari), on the willful artificiality of a painter (Giuseppe Arcimboldo), and on the programmatic and interpretive commentary of a theorist (Gregorio Comanini).

Maiorino draws subtle and persuasive connections between the images he discusses and the grotesque &"face&" of sixteenth-century poetics and rhetoric. He sets the mannerist and the grotesque against the philosophical seriousness of Renaissance humanism, interpreting them as a celebration of the ludic and fantastic possibilities of art itself. Aiming at pleasure rather than instruction, this art plays on the boundaries of the natural and the artificial, the credible and the impossible, taking delight in parody, excess, disjunction, and exaggeration.

 

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Contents

FIGURES OF ARTIFICIALITY
13
The Language
31
Adumbration of Nature and the Liminality
61
Mannerism and the Fabric
85
Toward a Poetics
115
The Daedalian Punster
141
Notes
149
Index
167
Copyright

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Page 155 - Susan Stewart, On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984; reissued, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993, 1998), p.

About the author (1987)

Giancarlo Maiorino is Professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University. He is the author of Adam &"New Born and perfect&": The Renaissance Promise of Eternity (1987) and The Cornucopian Mind and the Baroque Unity of the Arts (Penn State, 1990).

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