Importance of Mannerism

Little appreciated in common knowledge compared to other artistic movements, Mannerism occupied a central place in Europe at the end of the 16th century when it marked a closing stage of the achievements and advances that the Renaissance had proposed and a position directed towards new forms that would end in the Baroque.

Time, space and origin of the name

Mannerism could be described as an artistic school that has very outstanding characteristics . Its origin and development occurred in 16th century Europe, when the Renaissance was showing its latest exponents and some of them could be seen as rather deformed or contradictory forms with the clacisism and academicism of that artistic movement . This was understandable because it has always happened that each artistic style has a primitive moment, a moment of full development or boom and a final moment of decline and end.

The explanation behind the name is perhaps a little more complex. There is not a single version of it but it is estimated that it may have to do with the word


which comes from Italian. It refers to the way in which some artists painted and was later imitated by other artists who could reverse their work from another place, with personal or own characteristics.

The main features of Mannerism

Before beginning to detail the main elements that make up the mannerist style, it is important and interesting to note that it was long despised as a confusing, mediocre style by artists who did not achieve the excellence of their Renaissance predecessors. However, it is necessary to understand that it fully represented a change of era in which the economic, religious and political context was also conflictive. In this context, Renaissance perfection and clacisism were already small and had to be overcome.

Mannerism was characterized by painting and portraying figures with a perhaps deformed, stylized, unreal morphology. Thus, the bodies tend to lengthen in parts such as the neck, arms, legs, the hip is enlarged, the faces become angular and the facial expressions are very moving, with great presence of the eyes. At the same time, in painting, the colors used are unreal colors: the skin can take a greenish tone while the landscapes are altered and painted with tonal variations of the same color. Finally, the scenes become very complex, convoluted, tangled and conflictive, generating disgust, discomfort, impression or displeasure on the viewer.

Sculpture and architecture

Regarding the mannerist sculpture, we can say that it was characterized by the representation of extremely turned bodies, with expressions of suffering, pain and extreme feelings . In many cases, the bodies also look deformed compared to reality and too stylized.

The architecture has shown signs of also contradicting Renaissance clacisism with complex shapes, ornate surfaces and full of design that would later give rise to the Baroque style of the 16th century. Nooks, curved surfaces and curves were also present, which were rare in the previous period.


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