Sunday, July 10, 2011

Grotesque Alphabet #1

These prints are from a series of late 16th century engravings called 'Grotesque alphabet in mythological landscapes' by Giacomo Paolini. Not only do they incorporate the hybrid aesthetic of the early grotesque style (very popular at the time) but each is framed by ornamental designs and features a mythological background scene.

For instance, behind the letter H, "Hercules enters the inferno of Cerberus":

I love these. They have so much character and detail. Well worth a closer look. I found them on the British Museum's online database, where you can see more letters from the series.

Alternatively, one YouTube user has made a slide-show of all the letters.

Paolini's is not the only self-proclaimed 'grotesque alphabet' around - hence the #1 in the title. Plenty more alphabetic goodness to be had. (I guess this includes Grotext, but I'm still not entirely sure what that's about.)