Dissonant Symphonies: The Villa d’Este in Tivoli and the Grotesque

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This chapter compares the architect and antiquarian Pirro Ligorio’s theoretical writings on the grotesque with the garden that he designed for the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, paying close attention to the figure of Artemis of Ephesus depicted in the frescoes of the villa’s interior and in the adjacent landscape where she appears as the Fountain of Nature. The fact that Ligorio was the author of an unusually detailed theory of grottesche and the designer of a garden that incorporates grotesque imagery makes his work an important case study of sixteenth-century attitudes towards ‘monstrous’ ornament in general and, more specifically, in landscape design.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOrnament and Monstrosity in Early Modern Art
EditorsChris Askholt Hammeken, Maria Fabricius Hansen
Place of PublicationAmsterdam Netherlands
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9789048535873
ISBN (Print)9789462984967
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • grotesque
  • gardens
  • Pirro Ligorio
  • Villa d’Este
  • Artemis of Ephesus

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