Annabel Armstrong - decorative painting
This project, painted in collaboration with Nicola Vigini of Vigini Paint & Design, is in the style of a grottesca. A grottesca is traditionally an ornamental arrangement of painted vines and flowers, fantastical human and animal figures such as centaurs, and sometimes small isolated scenes, all painted in a fanciful, almost bizarre manner.

The grottesca has roots as far back as ancient Rome. This playful style of painting was rediscovered in the late 15th century, when artists such as Raphael visited the newly uncovered ruins of Emperor Nero's palace, which had been painted in the grottesca style. Grottesca continued to play a role in ornamentation after the Renaissance, influencing styles from Baroque and Rococo to Neoclassicism and Art Nouveau.

Grottesca's playful approach to ornamentation means that it can always be re-invented. Vigini's client--whose family history was tied to the Italian shipping industry--desired a marine theme, and thus this grottesca includes sea urchins, fanciful dolphins, and other references to the sea.
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