Photos of the Grotesque


In the image skin graft done by Otto Dix, he is displaying the unprecedented horrors of World War I and the terrible aftermath that resulted from it. In this image called skin graft, it appears that the person being shown is a injured war veteran who required immediate surgery. However, the surgery he has received is off poorly disfigured and decaying body parts that are sown onto the wounded soldiers body. In Frances S. Connelly’s writing he states that “Images gathered under the grotesque rubric include those that combine unlike things in order to challenge realities or construct new ones; those that deform or decompose things, and those that are metamorphic.” This image is an example of the combination of various decomposing body parts that are stitched onto this soldiers head. The soldier appears to be calm, but he has body parts on his head that don’t belong there, which are also decaying. This is an example of Frances Connelly’s idea of combining unlike things in order to change reality. The soldier has various body parts that are stitched onto his head, which are all rotting and challenging the traditional notion of surgery during World War I.

In the second image done by Goya, the image of a bird is shown being chased by a ton of what looks like to be angry villagers. This bird takes on the metamorphic quality Frances Connelly was talking about. This bird is shown being chased by a ton of people that seem to be trying to hurt the bird because they’re confused about what it is. “The grotesque also describes the aberration from ideal or form accepted convention, to create the misshapen, ugly, exaggerated, or even formless.” The image of the bird is challenging our notion of what we consider to be grotesque because of the idea that it’s displayed in a humanistic way, while still embodying a bird. This metamorphic quality the bird has makes it appear as if it is human and is being terrorized by these villagers who in the most part seem to be trying to get rid of the bird by banishing it from society because of it’s odd and peculiar form. Goya challenges the viewer with this bird because he takes something from an ideal form of a bird, and twists it into that of a sort of monster, which challenges our idea of what the subject of the piece really is.


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