Mannerism

Mannerism

Overview
Mannerism is a period
Art periods
Art period n. A phase in the development of the work of an artist, groups of artists or art movement.-Renaissance:Renaissance c. 1300 - c. 1602...

  of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance
High Renaissance
The expression High Renaissance, in art history, is a periodizing convention used to denote the apogee of the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance...

 around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 style began to replace it, but Northern Mannerism
Northern Mannerism
Northern Mannerism is the term in European art history for the versions of Mannerism practiced in the visual arts north of the Alps in the 16th and early 17th century...

 continued into the early 17th century throughout much of Europe. Stylistically
Painting style
In the visual arts, style is a "...distinctive manner which permits the grouping of works into related categories." or "...any distinctive, and therefore recognizable, way in which an act is performed or an artifact made or ought to be performed and made." It refers to the visual appearance of a...

, Mannerism encompasses a variety of approaches influenced by, and reacting to, the harmonious ideals and restrained naturalism associated with artists such as Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

, Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

, and early Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

.
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Encyclopedia
Mannerism is a period
Art periods
Art period n. A phase in the development of the work of an artist, groups of artists or art movement.-Renaissance:Renaissance c. 1300 - c. 1602...

  of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance
High Renaissance
The expression High Renaissance, in art history, is a periodizing convention used to denote the apogee of the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance...

 around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 style began to replace it, but Northern Mannerism
Northern Mannerism
Northern Mannerism is the term in European art history for the versions of Mannerism practiced in the visual arts north of the Alps in the 16th and early 17th century...

 continued into the early 17th century throughout much of Europe. Stylistically
Painting style
In the visual arts, style is a "...distinctive manner which permits the grouping of works into related categories." or "...any distinctive, and therefore recognizable, way in which an act is performed or an artifact made or ought to be performed and made." It refers to the visual appearance of a...

, Mannerism encompasses a variety of approaches influenced by, and reacting to, the harmonious ideals and restrained naturalism associated with artists such as Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

, Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

, and early Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

. Mannerism is notable for its intellectual sophistication as well as its artificial (as opposed to naturalistic) qualities.

The definition of Mannerism, and the phases within it, continues to be the subject of debate among art historians. For example, some scholars have applied the label to certain early modern forms of literature (especially poetry) and music of the 16th and 17th centuries. The term is also used to refer to some Late Gothic
Gothic art
Gothic art was a Medieval art movement that developed in France out of Romanesque art in the mid-12th century, led by the concurrent development of Gothic architecture. It spread to all of Western Europe, but took over art more completely north of the Alps, never quite effacing more classical...

 painters working in northern Europe from about 1500 to 1530, especially the Antwerp Mannerists
Antwerp Mannerism
Antwerp Mannerism is the name given to the style of a largely anonymous group of painters from Antwerp in the beginning of the 16th century. The style bore no direct relation to Renaissance or Italian Mannerism, but the name suggests a peculiarity that was a reaction to the "classic" style of the...

—a group unrelated to the Italian movement. Mannerism also has been applied by analogy to the Silver Age of Latin
Classical Latin
Classical Latin in simplest terms is the socio-linguistic register of the Latin language regarded by the enfranchised and empowered populations of the late Roman republic and the Roman empire as good Latin. Most writers during this time made use of it...

.

Nomenclature


The word mannerism derives from the Italian maniera, meaning "style" or "manner". Like the English word “style,” maniera can either be used to indicate a specific type of style (a beautiful style, an abrasive style) or be used to indicate an absolute that needs no qualification (someone ‘has style’).
In the second edition of his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects (1568), Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari was an Italian painter, writer, historian, and architect, who is famous today for his biographies of Italian artists, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing.-Biography:...

 used maniera in three different contexts: to discuss an artist's manner or method of working; to describe a personal or group style, such as the term maniera greca to refer to the Byzantine style or simply to the maniera of Michelangelo; and to affirm a positive judgment of artistic quality. Vasari was also a Mannerist artist, and he described the period in which he worked as "la maniera moderna", or the "modern style". James V. Mirollo describes how "bella maniera" poets attempted to surpass in virtuosity the sonnets of Petrarch. The notion of "bella maniera" suggests that artists infected with its spirit looked to copying and bettering their predecessors, rather than confronting nature directly. In essence, "bella maniera" utilized the best from a number of source materials, sythesizing it into something new. Shakespeare's creative approach could be defined in this way.

As a stylistic label, "Mannerism" is not easily pigeonholed. It was used by Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt
Jacob Burckhardt
Carl Jacob Christoph Burckhardt was a historian of art and culture, and an influential figure in the historiography of each field. He is known as one of the major progenitors of cultural history, albeit in a form very different from how cultural history is conceived and studied in academia today...

 and popularized by German art historians
Art history
Art history has historically been understood as the academic study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts, i.e. genre, design, format, and style...

 in the early 20th century to categorize the seemingly uncategorizable art of the Italian 16th century — art that was no longer perceived to exhibit the harmonious and rational approaches associated with the High Renaissance. “High Renaissance” suggested a period of harmony, grandeur and the revival of classical antiquity and the term was redefined in 1967 by John Shearman. The label “Mannerism” was used during the 16th century to comment on social behaviour and to convey a refined virtuoso quality or to signify a certain technique.

However, for later writers, such as the 17th-century Gian Pietro Bellori, "la maniera" was a derogatory term for the decline of art after Raphael, especially in the 1530s and 1540s. From the late 19th-century on, art historians have commonly used the term to describe art that follows Renaissance classicism and precedes the Baroque. Yet historians differ in opinion, as to whether Mannerism is a style, a movement, or a period, and while the term remains controversial it is commonly used to identify European art and culture of the 16th century.

Early mannerism


Depending on the historical account, Mannerism developed between 1510 and 1520 in either Florence, Rome, or both cities. The early Mannerists in Florence—especially the students of Andrea del Sarto
Andrea del Sarto
Andrea del Sarto was an Italian painter from Florence, whose career flourished during the High Renaissance and early Mannerism. Though highly regarded during his lifetime as an artist senza errori , his renown was eclipsed after his death by that of his contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci,...

: Jacopo da Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino
Rosso Fiorentino
Giovanni Battista di Jacopo , known as Rosso Fiorentino , or Il Rosso, was an Italian Mannerist painter, in oil and fresco, belonging to the Florentine school.-Biography:...

—are notable for elongated forms, precariously balanced poses, a collapsed perspective, irrational settings, and theatrical lighting. Parmigianino
Parmigianino
Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola , also known as Francesco Mazzola or more commonly as Parmigianino or sometimes "Parmigiano", was an Italian Mannerist painter and printmaker active in Florence, Rome, Bologna, and his native city of Parma...

 (a student of Correggio
Antonio da Correggio
Antonio Allegri da Correggio , usually known as Correggio, was the foremost painter of the Parma school of the Italian Renaissance, who was responsible for some of the most vigorous and sensuous works of the 16th century...

) and Giulio Romano
Giulio Romano
Giulio Romano was an Italian painter and architect. A pupil of Raphael, his stylistic deviations from high Renaissance classicism help define the 16th-century style known as Mannerism...

 (Raphael’s head assistant) were moving in similarly stylized aesthetic directions in Rome. These artists had matured under the influence of the High Renaissance, and their style has been characterized as a reaction or exaggerated extension of it. Instead of studying nature directly, younger artists began studying Hellenistic sculptures and paintings of masters past. Therefore, this style is often identified as "anti-classical”. yet at the time it was considered a natural progression from the High Renaissance. The earliest experimental phase of Mannerism, known for its "anti-classical" forms, lasted until about 1540 or 1550. Marcia B. Hall, professor of art history at Temple University, notes in her book 'After Raphael' Raphael's premature death marked the beginning of Mannerism in Rome.

Michelangelo was one of the great creative exponents of Mannerism. His Sistine Chapel ceiling
Sistine Chapel ceiling
The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, at the commission of Pope Julius II, is a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art. The ceiling is that of the large Papal Chapel built within the Vatican between 1477 and 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV after whom it is named...

 provided examples for other artists to follow, in particular the figures of ignudi and of the Libyan Sibyl
Libyan Sibyl
The Libyan Sibyl, named Phemonoe, was the prophetic priestess presiding over the Zeus Ammon Oracle at Siwa Oasis in the Libyan Desert....

. Michelangelo himself could have been influenced by the "Belvedere Torso
Belvedere Torso
The Belvedere Torso is a fragment of a nude male statue, signed prominently on the front of the base by an Athenian sculptor "Apollonios son of Nestor", who is unmentioned in ancient literature...

,” which also influenced other painters.



Raphael’s "Lo Spasimo di Sicilia” depicts an event in Christian history when Christ falls while carrying the cross, sees his mother in distress and is helped up by Simon of Cyrene. The composition is linked by the diagonals of the soldiers’ spears and the wooden cross. However, Christ cannot be singled out immediately among the gathering figures in the foreground, whereas Simon stands out quite prominently. The spectator’s eyes look down the composition to the drama and charge of the narrative.

The competitive spirit that was spurred on by patrons who encouraged the artists to show off their virtuoso painting. When in Florence Leonardo and Michelangelo were each given a commission by Gonfaloniere Piero Soderini to decorate a wall in the “Hall of Five Hundred”. These two artists were set to paint side by side and compete against each other fueling the incentive of being as innovative as possible. Later on in Rome Raphael was commissioned to paint “The Transfiguration” by Cardinal Gioulio di Medici who had been appointed as arch bishop of Narbonne in the south of France. At this time Raphael was also busy painting the Stanze, various altarpieces, painting versions of Madonna and child and being the principal architect in Rome after the death of Bramante, which gave him little time to do “The Transfiguration”. Therefore the cardinal commissioned Sebastiano del Piombo who was great Venetian colourist and a friend of Michelangelo to paint “The Raising of Lazarus”. This spurred Raphael on to complete the commission.

This period has been described as both a natural extension of the art of Andrea del Sarto
Andrea del Sarto
Andrea del Sarto was an Italian painter from Florence, whose career flourished during the High Renaissance and early Mannerism. Though highly regarded during his lifetime as an artist senza errori , his renown was eclipsed after his death by that of his contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci,...

, Michelangelo, and Raphael, as well as a decline of those same artists' classicizing achievements. In past analyses, it has been noted that mannerism arose in the early 16th century alongside a number of other social, scientific, religious and political movements such as the Copernican model
Heliocentrism
Heliocentrism, or heliocentricism, is the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around a stationary Sun at the center of the universe. The word comes from the Greek . Historically, heliocentrism was opposed to geocentrism, which placed the Earth at the center...

, the Sack of Rome
Sack of Rome (1527)
The Sack of Rome on 6 May 1527 was a military event carried out by the mutinous troops of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in Rome, then part of the Papal States...

, and the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

's increasing challenge to the power of the Catholic Church. Because of this, the style's elongated forms and distorted forms were once interpreted as a reaction to the idealized compositions prevalent in High Renaissance art. This explanation for the radical stylistic shift c. 1520 has fallen out of scholarly favor, though the early Mannerists are still set in stark contrast to High Renaissance conventions; the immediacy and balance achieved by Raphael's School of Athens, no longer seemed interesting to young artists. Indeed, Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

 himself displayed tendencies towards Mannerism, notably in his vestibule
Vestibule (architecture)
A vestibule is a lobby, entrance hall, or passage between the entrance and the interior of a building.The same term can apply to structures in modern or ancient roman architecture. In modern architecture vestibule typically refers to a small room or hall between an entrance and the interior of...

 to the Laurentian Library
Laurentian Library
The Laurentian Library is a historical library in Florence, Italy, containing a repository of more than 11,000 manuscripts and 4,500 early printed books...

, in the figures on his Medici
Medici
The House of Medici or Famiglia de' Medici was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of the Tuscan countryside,...

 tombs, and above all in his Last Judgment
The Last Judgment (Michelangelo)
The Last Judgment is a canonical fresco by the Italian Renaissance master Michelangelo executed on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City...

.

High maniera



The second period of Mannerism is commonly differentiated from the earlier, so-called "anti-classical" phase.

Subsequent mannerists stressed intellectual conceits and artistic virtuosity, features that have led later critics to accuse them of working in an unnatural and affected "manner" (maniera). Maniera artists held their elder contemporary Michelangelo as their prime example; theirs was an art imitating art, rather than an art imitating nature. Freedberg
Sydney Joseph Freedberg
Sydney Joseph Freedberg was an art historian who was chief curator of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC....

 argues that the intellectualizing aspect of maniera art comes in the artist expecting his audience to notice and understand this visual reference, the familiar figure in an unfamiliar setting surrounded by "unseen, but felt, quotation marks." The supreme artifice comes in the Maniera painter's love of deliberately mis-appropriating a quotation. Agnolo Bronzino and Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari was an Italian painter, writer, historian, and architect, who is famous today for his biographies of Italian artists, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing.-Biography:...

 exemplify this strain of Maniera that lasted from about 1530 to 1580. Based largely at courts and in intellectual circles around Europe, Maniera art couples exaggerated elegance with exquisite attention to surface and detail: porcelain-skinned figures recline in an even, tempered light, regarding the viewer with a cool glance, if at all. The Maniera subject rarely displays an excess of emotion, and for this reason are often interpreted as 'cold' or 'aloof,' and is often called the "stylish" style or the Maniera.

Spread of mannerism


Mannerist centers in Italy were Rome, Florence and Mantua. Venetian painting, in its separate "school," pursued a separate course, represented in the long career of Titian
Titian
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

. A number of the earliest Mannerist artists who had been working in Rome during the 1520s fled the city after the Sack of Rome
Sack of Rome (1527)
The Sack of Rome on 6 May 1527 was a military event carried out by the mutinous troops of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in Rome, then part of the Papal States...

 in 1527. As they spread out across the continent in search of employment, their style was distributed throughout Italy and Europe. The result was the first international artistic style since the Gothic
Gothic art
Gothic art was a Medieval art movement that developed in France out of Romanesque art in the mid-12th century, led by the concurrent development of Gothic architecture. It spread to all of Western Europe, but took over art more completely north of the Alps, never quite effacing more classical...

. Other parts of Northern Europe did not have the advantage of such intense contact with Italian artists, but the Mannerist style made its presence felt through prints and illustrated books, the purchases of Italian works by rulers, and others, artists' travels to Italy, and the example of individual Italian artists working in the North is called Northern Mannerism
Northern Mannerism
Northern Mannerism is the term in European art history for the versions of Mannerism practiced in the visual arts north of the Alps in the 16th and early 17th century...

. In particular Francis I of France
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...

 was presented with Bronzino's Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time
Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time
Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time is an allegorical painting by the Florentine artist Agnolo Bronzino. It is now in the National Gallery, London....

.
The style waned in Italy after 1580, as a new generation of artists, including the Carracci
Accademia degli Incamminati
The Accademia degli Incamminati was one of the first art academies in Italy. It was originally created around 1580 in Bologna as the Accademia dei Desiderosi and was sometimes known as the Accademia dei Carracci after its founders the Carracci cousins , with Annibale heading the institution thanks...

 brothers, Caravaggio
Caravaggio
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque...

 and Cigoli
Cigoli
Lodovico Cardi , also known as Cigoli, was an Italian painter and architect of the late Mannerist and early Baroque period, trained and active in his early career in Florence, and spending the last nine years of his life in Rome.Lodovico Cardi was born at Villa Castelvecchio di Cigoli, in Tuscany,...

, reemphasized naturalism. Walter Friedlaender identified this period as "anti-mannerism", just as the early mannerists were "anti-classical" in their reaction to the High Renaissance.
Outside of Italy, however, mannerism continued into the 17th century. In France, where Rosso traveled to work for the court at Fontainebleau
School of Fontainebleau
The Ecole de Fontainebleau refers to two periods of artistic production in France during the late Renaissance centered around the royal Château de Fontainebleau, that were crucial in forming the French version of Northern Mannerism....

, it is known as the "Henry II style
Henry II style
The Henry II style was the chief artistic movement of the sixteenth century in France, part of Northern Mannerism. It came immediately after High Renaissance and was largely the product of Italian influences...

" and it had a particular impact on architecture. Other important continental centers include the court of Rudolf II
Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor
Rudolf II was Holy Roman Emperor , King of Hungary and Croatia , King of Bohemia and Archduke of Austria...

 in Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

, as well as Haarlem
Haarlem
Haarlem is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of North Holland, the northern half of Holland, which at one time was the most powerful of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic...

 and Antwerp. Mannerism as a stylistic category is less frequently applied to English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 visual and decorative arts, where local categories such as "Elizabethan" and "Jacobean
Jacobean era
The Jacobean era refers to the period in English and Scottish history that coincides with the reign of King James VI of Scotland, who also inherited the crown of England in 1603 as James I...

" are more common. Seventeenth-century Artisan Mannerism is one exception applied to architecture that relies on pattern books rather than direct precedents in Continental Europe.

Of particular note is the Flemish infection at Fontainebleau that combined the eroticism of the French style with a precursor of the vanitas tradition that would dominate seventeenth-century Netherlandish and Flemish painting. Prevalent at this time was the "pittore vago" those painters from the north that entered the workshops in France and Italy to create a truly international style in art.

Early theorists



Giorgio Vasari


Giorgio Vasari's
Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari was an Italian painter, writer, historian, and architect, who is famous today for his biographies of Italian artists, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing.-Biography:...

 opinions about the art of painting come through in his praise of fellow artists in the great book that lay behind this frontispiece: he believed that excellence in painting demanded refinement, richness of invention (invenzione), expressed through virtuoso technique (maniera), and wit and study that appeared in the finished work, all criteria that emphasized the artist's intellect and the patron's sensibility. The artist was now no longer just a craftsman member of a local Guild of St Luke. Now he took his place at court with scholars, poets, and humanists, in a climate that fostered an appreciation for elegance and complexity. The coat-of-arms of Vasari's Medici
Medici
The House of Medici or Famiglia de' Medici was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of the Tuscan countryside,...

 patrons appear at the top of his portrait, quite as if they were the artist's own.

The framing of the woodcut image of Mannerist artist Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari was an Italian painter, writer, historian, and architect, who is famous today for his biographies of Italian artists, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing.-Biography:...

's Lives of the Artists (illustration, left) would be called "Jacobean
Jacobean era
The Jacobean era refers to the period in English and Scottish history that coincides with the reign of King James VI of Scotland, who also inherited the crown of England in 1603 as James I...

" in an English-speaking context. In it, Michelangelo's Medici tombs inspire the anti-architectural "architectural" features at the top, the papery pierced frame, the satyr nudes at the base. In the vignette of Florence at the base, papery or vellum-like material is cut and stretched and scrolled into a cartouche
Cartouche
In Egyptian hieroglyphs, a cartouche is an ellipse with a horizontal line at one end, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name, coming into use during the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty under Pharaoh Sneferu, replacing the earlier serekh...

 (cartoccia). The design is self-conscious, overcharged with rich, artificially "natural" detail in physically improbable juxtapositions of jarring scale changes, overwhelming as a mere frame: Mannerist.

Gian Paolo Lomazzo


Another literary source from the period is Gian Paolo Lomazzo
Gian Paolo Lomazzo
Gian Paolo Lomazzo was an Italian painter, more remembered for his writings on art theory, belonging to the second generation that produced Mannerism in Italian art and architecture.Gian Paolo Lomazzo was born in Milan from a family emigrated from the town of Lomazzo...

, who produced two works—one practical and one metaphysical—that helped define the Mannerist artist's self-conscious relation to his art. His Trattato dell'arte della pittura, scoltura et architettura (Milan, 1584) is in part a guide to contemporary concepts of decorum
Decorum
Decorum was a principle of classical rhetoric, poetry and theatrical theory that was about the fitness or otherwise of a style to a theatrical subject...

, which the Renaissance inherited in part from Antiquity but Mannerism elaborated upon. Lomazzo's systematic codification of aesthetics, which typifies the more formalized and academic approaches typical of the later 16th century, controlled a consonance between the functions of interiors and the kinds of painted and sculpted decors that would be suitable. Iconography, often convoluted and abstruse, is a more prominent element in the Mannerist styles. His less practical and more metaphysical Idea del tempio della pittura ("The ideal temple of painting", Milan, 1590) offers a description along the lines of the "four temperaments" theory of the human nature and personality, containing the explanations of the role of individuality in judgment and artistic invention.

Some mannerist examples



Jacopo da Pontormo


Jacopo da Pontormo
Pontormo
Jacopo Carucci , usually known as Jacopo da Pontormo, Jacopo Pontormo or simply Pontormo, was an Italian Mannerist painter and portraitist from the Florentine school. His work represents a profound stylistic shift from the calm perspectival regularity that characterized the art of the Florentine...

's Joseph in Egypt stood in what would have been considered contradicting colors and disunified time and space in the Renaissance. Neither the clothing nor the buildings — not even the colors — accurately represented the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 story of Joseph.


Rosso Fiorentino & the School of Fontainebleau


Rosso Fiorentino
Rosso Fiorentino
Giovanni Battista di Jacopo , known as Rosso Fiorentino , or Il Rosso, was an Italian Mannerist painter, in oil and fresco, belonging to the Florentine school.-Biography:...

, who had been a fellow-pupil of Pontormo in the studio of Andrea del Sarto
Andrea del Sarto
Andrea del Sarto was an Italian painter from Florence, whose career flourished during the High Renaissance and early Mannerism. Though highly regarded during his lifetime as an artist senza errori , his renown was eclipsed after his death by that of his contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci,...

, brought Florentine mannerism to Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau is a commune in the metropolitan area of Paris, France. It is located south-southeast of the centre of Paris. Fontainebleau is a sub-prefecture of the Seine-et-Marne department, and it is the seat of the arrondissement of Fontainebleau...

 in 1530, where he became one of the founders of the French 16th century Mannerism called the "School of Fontainebleau
School of Fontainebleau
The Ecole de Fontainebleau refers to two periods of artistic production in France during the late Renaissance centered around the royal Château de Fontainebleau, that were crucial in forming the French version of Northern Mannerism....

".

The examples of a rich and hectic decorative style at Fontainebleau transferred the Italian style, through the medium of engraving
Engraving
Engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing...

s, to Antwerp and thence throughout Northern Europe, from London to Poland, and brought Mannerist design into luxury goods like silver and carved furniture. A sense of tense controlled emotion expressed in elaborate symbolism and allegory
Allegory
Allegory is a demonstrative form of representation explaining meaning other than the words that are spoken. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation...

, and elongated proportions of female beauty are characteristics of his style.

Agnolo Bronzino


Mannerist portraits by Agnolo Bronzino are distinguished by a still elegance and meticulous attention to detail. As a result, Bronzino's sitters (at left) have been said to put an uncommunicative abyss between subject and viewer, concentrating on rendering of the precise pattern and sheen of rich textiles.

Alessandro Allori


Alessandro Allori
Alessandro Allori
Alessandro di Cristofano di Lorenzo del Bronzino Allori was an Italian portrait painter of the late Mannerist Florentine school....

's (1535–1607) Susanna and the Elders (below) uses artificial, waxy eroticism and consciously brilliant still life detail, in a crowded contorted composition.

Tintoretto


Tintoretto
Tintoretto
Tintoretto , real name Jacopo Comin, was a Venetian painter and a notable exponent of the Renaissance school. For his phenomenal energy in painting he was termed Il Furioso...

's Last Supper (at right) epitomizes Mannerism by taking Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 and the table out of the middle of the room. He showed all that was happening. The painting emphasizes light and motion, dramatizing the image. Unlike more traditional views of the Last Supper, he depicts Heaven opening up into the room, and the angel
Angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

s looking on in awe, per the old Catholic maxim that "If the angels were capable of envy, they would envy the Eucharist."

El Greco


El Greco
El Greco
El Greco was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. "El Greco" was a nickname, a reference to his ethnic Greek origin, and the artist normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος .El Greco was born on Crete, which was at...

 attempted to express the religious tension with exaggerated Mannerism. This exaggeration would serve to cross over the Mannerist line and be applied to Classicism
Classicism
Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for classical antiquity, as setting standards for taste which the classicists seek to emulate. The art of classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained: of the Discobolus Sir Kenneth Clark observed, "if we object to his restraint...

. After the realistic depiction of the human form and the mastery of perspective achieved in high Renaissance Classicism, some artists started to deliberately distort proportions in disjointed, irrational space for emotional and artistic effect. Key aspects of Mannerism in El Greco include the jarring "acid" color sense, elongated and tortured anatomy, irrational perspective and light, and obscure and troubling iconography.

Benvenuto Cellini


Benvenuto Cellini
Benvenuto Cellini
Benvenuto Cellini was an Italian goldsmith, sculptor, painter, soldier and musician, who also wrote a famous autobiography. He was one of the most important artists of Mannerism.-Youth:...

 created the Cellini Salt Cellar of gold and enamel in 1540 featuring Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

 and Amphitrite
Amphitrite
In ancient Greek mythology, Amphitrite was a sea-goddess and wife of Poseidon. Under the influence of the Olympian pantheon, she became merely the consort of Poseidon, and was further diminished by poets to a symbolic representation of the sea...

 (water and earth) in elongated form and uncomfortable positions. It is considered a masterpiece of Mannerist sculpture.

Joachim Wtewael


Joachim Wtewael
Joachim Wtewael
Joachim Anthonisz Wtewael , was a notable Dutch painter and engraver.Wtewael was born and died in Utrecht, where he began his career engraving glass with his father...

's style is noted for certain similarity with Da Vinci's naturalist composition and character/landscape interaction albeit with a typically mannerist palette of pastel tones. Quoting Gérard de Nerval
Gérard de Nerval
Gérard de Nerval was the nom-de-plume of the French poet, essayist and translator Gérard Labrunie, one of the most essentially Romantic French poets.- Biography :...

 Art Historian Jean-Yves Heurtebise has further proposed that Dutch mannerism would typically use an otherwise general principle of Art History consisting of "the ability to capture what is different and to become different itself in this process"

Giuseppe Arcimboldo


Giuseppe Arcimboldo
Giuseppe Arcimboldo
Giuseppe Arcimboldo was an Italian painter best known for creating imaginative portrait heads made entirely of such objects as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and books – that is, he painted representations of these objects on the canvas arranged in such a way that the whole collection of...

 (also spelled Arcimboldi) is known for his portraits using a still life
Still life
A still life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural or man-made...

 composition to which later Surrealism
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

 would be reminiscent. Arcimboldo will notably influence German painter Michael Mathias Prechtl
Michael Mathias Prechtl
Michael Mathias Prechtl was a German artist, illustrator and cartoonist. He served as a soldier on the Eastern Front during World War II and spent 1945-49 as a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union....

 (1929-2003) in his portrait of Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka was a culturally influential German-language author of short stories and novels. Contemporary critics and academics, including Vladimir Nabokov, regard Kafka as one of the best writers of the 20th century...

 

Mannerist architecture


An example of mannerist architecture is the Villa Farnese
Villa Farnese
The Villa Farnese, also known as Villa Caprarola, is a mansion in the town of Caprarola in the province of Viterbo, Northern Lazio, Italy, approximately 50 kilometres north-west of Rome...

 at Caprarola in the rugged country side outside of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. The proliferation of engravers during the 16th century spread Mannerist styles more quickly than any previous styles. A center of Mannerist design was Antwerp during its 16th century boom. Through Antwerp, Renaissance and Mannerist style
Renaissance architecture
Renaissance architecture is the architecture of the period between the early 15th and early 17th centuries in different regions of Europe, demonstrating a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture. Stylistically, Renaissance...

s were widely introduced in England, Germany, and northern and eastern Europe in general. Dense with ornament of "Roman" detailing, the display doorway at Colditz Castle (illustration, left) exemplifies this northern style, characteristically applied as an isolated "set piece" against unpretentious vernacular walling.

Mannerism in literature and music



In English literature, Mannerism is commonly identified with the qualities of the "Metaphysical" poets of whom the most famous is John Donne
John Donne
John Donne 31 March 1631), English poet, satirist, lawyer, and priest, is now considered the preeminent representative of the metaphysical poets. His works are notable for their strong and sensual style and include sonnets, love poetry, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs,...

. The witty sally of a Baroque writer, John Dryden
John Dryden
John Dryden was an influential English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who dominated the literary life of Restoration England to such a point that the period came to be known in literary circles as the Age of Dryden.Walter Scott called him "Glorious John." He was made Poet...

, against the verse of Donne in the previous generation, affords a concise contrast between Baroque and Mannerist aims in the arts:
The rich musical possibilities in the poetry of the late 16th and early 17th centuries provided an attractive basis for the madrigal
Madrigal (music)
A madrigal is a secular vocal music composition, usually a partsong, of the Renaissance and early Baroque eras. Traditionally, polyphonic madrigals are unaccompanied; the number of voices varies from two to eight, and most frequently from three to six....

, which quickly rose to prominence as the pre-eminent musical form in Italian musical culture, as discussed by Tim Carter
Tim Carter (musicologist)
Tim Carter is an Australian musicologist with a special focus on late Renaissance music and Italian Baroque music. An active member of the field of musicology, Carter is presently a department chair at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he holds the position of David G. Frey...

:
The word Mannerism has also been used to describe the style of highly florid and contrapuntally
Counterpoint
In music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independent in contour and rhythm and are harmonically interdependent . It has been most commonly identified in classical music, developing strongly during the Renaissance and in much of the common practice period,...

 complex polyphonic music made in France in the late 14th century. This period is now usually referred to as the ars subtilior
Ars subtilior
Ars subtilior is a musical style characterized by rhythmic and notational complexity, centered around Paris, Avignon in southern France, also in northern Spain at the end of the fourteenth century. The style also is found in the French Cypriot repertory...

.

Mannerism and Theatre

The Early Commedia dell'Arte (1550–1621): The Mannerist Context by Paul Castagno discusses Mannerism's infection of the contemporary professional theatre. Castagno's was the first study to define a theatrical form as Mannerist, employing the vocabulary of Mannerism and maniera to discuss the typification, exaggerated, and effetto meraviglioso of the comici dell'arte. See Part II of the above book for a full discussion of Mannerist characteristics in the commedia dell'arte.} The study is largely iconographic, presenting a pictorial evidence that many of the artists who painted or printed commedia images were in fact, coming from the workshops of the day, heavily ensconced in the maniera tradition.

The preciocity in Jacques Callot
Jacques Callot
Jacques Callot was a baroque printmaker and draftsman from the Duchy of Lorraine . He is an important figure in the development of the old master print...

's minute engravings seem to belie a much larger scale of action. Callot's Balli di Sfessania (literally, dance of the buttocks) celebrates the commedia's blatant eroticism, with protruding phalli, spears posed with the anticipation of a comic ream, and grossly exaggerated masks that mix the bestial with human. The eroticism of the innamorate (lovers) including the bearing of breasts, or excessive veiling, was quite in vogue in the paintings and engravings from the second school at Fontainebleau, particularly those that detect a Franco-Flemish influence. Castagno demonstrates iconographic linkages between genre painting and the figures of the commedia dell'arte that demonstrate how this theatrical form was embedded within the cultural traditions of the late cinquecento.

Commedia dell'arte, disegno interno, and the discordia concors

Important corollaries exist between the disegno interno, which substituted for the disegno esterno (external design) in mannerist painting. This notion of projecting a deeply subjective view as superseding nature or established principles (perspective, for example), in essence, the emphasis away from the object to its subject, now emphasizing execution, displays of virtuosity, or unique techniques. This inner vision is at the heart of commedia performance. For example, in the moment of improvisation the actor expresses his virtuosity without heed to formal boundaries, decorum, unity, or text. Arlecchino became emblemmatic of the mannerist discordia concors (the union of opposites), at one moment he would be gentle and kind, then, on a dime, become a thief violently acting out with his batte. Arlecchino could be graceful in movement, only in the next beat, to clumsily trip over his feet. Freed from the external rules, the actor celebrated the evanescence of the moment; much the way Cellini would dazzle his patrons by draping his sculptures, unveiling them with lighting effects and a sense of the marvelous. The presentation of the object became as important as the object itself.

See also

  • Counter-Mannerism
    Counter-Mannerism
    Counter-Mannerism is a general art historical term for a trend in painting, printmaking and interior decoration that originated as a sub-category of Mannerism. Contra-Maniera followed the general worldliness of the second generation of Mannerist painters...

  • Mannerist architecture and sculpture in Poland
    Mannerist architecture and sculpture in Poland
    Mannerist architecture and sculpture in Poland dominated between 1550 and 1650, when it was finally replaced with baroque. The style includes various mannerist traditions, which are closely related with ethnic and religious diversity of the country, as well as with its economic and political...

  • Timeline of Italian artists to 1800

Further reading


  • Gardner, Helen Louise. 1972. The Metaphysical Poets, Selected and Edited, revised edition. Introduction. Harmondsworth, England; New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 014042038X.
  • Hall, Marcia B . 2001. "After Raphael: Painting in Central Italy in the Sixteenth Century", Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

    . ISBN 0521483972.
  • Pinelli, Antonio. 1993. La bella maniera: artisti del Cinquecento tra regola e licenza. Turin: Piccola biblioteca Einaudi. ISBN 8806131370
  • Sypher, Wylie. 1955. Four Stages of Renaissance Style: Transformations in Art and Literature, 1400-1700. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday. A classic analysis of Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque, and Late Baroque.
  • Würtenberger, Franzsepp. 1963. Mannerism: The European Style of the Sixteenth Century. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston (Originally published in German, as Der Manierismus; der europäische Stil des sechzehnten Jahrhunderts. Vienna: A. Schroll, 1962).