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Home » Glossary » Grotesque

Grotesque in art refers to a style that features bizarre, distorted, or fantastical images that are often humorous or disturbing. The term derives from the Italian word “grottesco,” which means “of a cave,” and refers to the fact that many grotesque images were found in ancient Roman ruins and caves. The style has a long history in Western art and has been used in a variety of contexts, from medieval manuscripts and Gothic architecture to Surrealist painting and contemporary street art. Grotesque art is often characterized by its exaggerated forms, its use of humor and satire, and its ability to challenge traditional norms and values in society.