In 1496 the term "grotesque" appeared in print for the first time, probably coined by the same artists to define the different decorative systems of ancient painting re-discovered in Roman caves. Raphael, however, in the second decade of the sixteenth century, together with his trusted collaborator Giovanni da Udine, would have thoroughly understood the logic of these decorative systems, re-proposing them organically, thanks to his profound antiquarian skills, for the first time in Cardinal Bibbiena's Stufetta (1516 ) and then, always in the Bibbiena apartment in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, in the Loggetta (1516-17), a true and proper general rehearsal for the great cycle of stuccos and old-style frescoes made in the Vatican Lodges (1517-1519). Just the virtual reconstruction, in 1: 1 scale, of Cardinal Bibbiena's Stufetta, conceived by Raphael after an intense study of Roman decorations and realized by his collaborators (Giulio Romano and Giovanni of Udine), a famous but substantially unknown environment (because located in an area of the Vatican palaces inaccessible to the general public), will constitute one of the fulcrums of this exhibition.
The age-old fortune of the grotesques, in particular in the interpretation provided by Raphael and his followers, can also be documented over the very long period: some of the greatest twentieth-century artists, such as Paul Klee and Alexander Calder, have in fact undergone the charm of the ancient and Renaissance grotesques . In particular, they will be the main representative of Surrealism (Victor Brauner, Salvador Dalì, Max Ernst, Joan Miro, Yves Tanguy), due to the fantastic, irrational, substantially unrealistic nature of this decorative system, will be seduced by "magic art" of the grotesques, proposing once again, in a dreamlike and Freudian key, those inventions capable of scandalizing the taste of the classicists and the false conscience of the moralists.
The design proposal freely draws inspiration from the use of the Renaissance perspective and in particular of the "broken through", that is, the pictorial method that simulates the opening of a room in the architectural space.
The exhibition is in fact characterized by metaphorical openings of walls and windows, veiled scenes that does not hide the suggestive architecture of the Domus Aurea, but on the contrary enrich the environment with animated surfaces with a see-not-see effect.
Mise-à-distance with ever-changing forms are the support of digital story-narrative, for an engaging story where the visitor is an active part in the development of the story.
The multimedia language alternates between immersive video-mapp that reconstruct Raphael's works, entertainment, digital scenographies that tell anecdotes about the artists of the '500, generative and morphing art, archives and digital collages of grotesque and surrealist-inspired decorative elements.
The visitor uses the contents in a free path between the different environments, whose interaction is designed to be intuitive and immediate, characterized by a consistency of gestures and elegant interactive consoles perfectly integrated with the exhibit, which allow the visitor to experience the experience without mediation.