[Ads-l] "grotesque", noun

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Fri Jan 15 20:11:42 UTC 2016

I suppose the quotations below fit sense 1.b rather than 1.a, so they postdate OED2 1893--.  (Later quotations use the Italian form "grotteschi.")

 1.a = A kind of decorative painting or sculpture, consisting of representations of portions of human and animal forms, fantastically combined and interwoven with foliage and flowers.

1.b = A work of art in this style. Chiefly pl., figures or designs in grotesque; in popular language, figures or designs characterized by comic distortion or exaggeration.

Boston Globe, Jan. 15, 2015, page B1.
The limestone figure had gazed out onto the campus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute for a century, holding a ball next to its head in a symbol of the importance of physical education.
This week, it was time for the “grotesque” to come down. Thirty-three others like it will soon fall, as WPI prepares to demolish the Alumni Gymnasium in favor of a new academic and residential building.
 The grotesques have a special place in the lore of the institution, so WPI wants to save them for use in the new structure.
“I think a lot of people over the years have viewed these as kind of a fun and quirky and interesting architectural oddity,” said Alfredo DiMauro, assistant vice president for facilities at WPI.
(The figures aren’t considered gargoyles because they don’t act as water spouts.)
I assert that "grotesque" in the 2nd paragraph above is the singular noun, not an adjective.


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