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The World as a Labyrinth - Gustav René Hocke and the Fantastic Art Tradition


Fantastic Art

Touristically speaking, the modest town of Bomarzo has little to offer in comparison with nearby Rome apart from a small castle once owned by a prince belonging to that ancient Italian family, the Orsini. Those who enter its gardens, however, will find themselves abruptly transported into a bizarre landscape that seems to have sprung from some demented dream: the Parco dei Mostri, or Park of the Monsters. Gigantic stone tortoises crawl along, cock-eyed architectural follies cower on the slopes, and the paths are flanked by massive urns, rocky grottoes, and grotesque fabulous beasts with gaping jaws. This setting, which no modern maker of fantasy films could improve on, dates from the 16th century. Ultra-modern in its day, the park is an artificial landscape that breaks with the classical forms of the early Renaissance. It is committed to a stylistic trend that was to leave its impress on Gustav René Hocke: Mannerism.