Mannerism . Artistic style that developed in Italy in the 16th century , is characterized by the use of highly plastic models, exaggerated figures, often with forced postures, an unreal treatment of space , often with dramatic effects , and an apparent arbitrary choice of color . It supposes the rejection of the balance and clarity of the Renaissance in search of more dramatic and complex compositions, and the desire for more emotional effects, of greater movement and contrast. In this regard, he anticipated the Baroque that would develop around 1600 .


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  • 1 Origin and evolution
  • 2 Artistic style
  • 3 Representatives
    • 1 The Last Judgment
  • 4 Sources

Origin and evolution

Mannerism originated in Florence and Rome , but eventually spread to Spain , central and northern Europe . It was an anticlassical reaction that questioned the validity of the ideal of beauty defended in the High Renaissance.

It is the art of a time of crisis that reflects deep contradictions: it reflects the religious and political crisis of the turn of the century.

Its name derives from the Italian expression “alla maniera de …” since the artists of this trend try to imitate the style or “maniera” of the great Renaissance masters, but managing and exaggerating their forms. Idea that arises from the century XVII , in which Giovanni Pietro Bellori and others believed that mannerism was a movement of inferior quality, which occurred after the classical Renaissance.

It was judged pejoratively until its revaluation by the criticism of the 20th century when it is considered as an independent artistic style and with its own entity that is defined by a series of intrinsic values ​​of its own extending to other artistic , cultural and spiritual manifestations , such as architecture , sculpture , literature and music .

Artistic style

Mannerism was not a reaction against the canons of the Renaissance, but grew out of it, cultivating almost in excess the style with which the human figure was treated by the last Italian masters such as Raphael and Michelangelo, whose works provided the impetus for its development. Thus, Michelangelo’s Last Judgment ( 1536 – 1541 , Sistine Chapel, Vatican) coincides with the work of some mannerist painters. Sophisticated and artificial style, very intellectual. Complexity and distortion were given more importance than harmony of lines , color, or composition; in Mannerism, even religious paintings were disturbing to the viewer. Mannerism is subjective, unstable. The artists let themselves be carried away by their tastes , moving away from the plausible, tending towards unreality and abstraction . Especially preferred in sculpture is the serpentine line or figure, in which the figures are arranged in an ascending helical direction.


Among the painters of this style, Jacopo Pontormo , Rosso Fiorentino , Francesco Mazzola known as Parmigianino , Tintoretto and Angelo Bronzino stand out .

The best known of the late mannerists is El Greco ( 1514 – 1614 ), who, although trained in Italy, settled in Spain. His intensely emotional way of approaching subjects gave a strong apocalyptic sense to his works, even to landscapes . In his work the rhythmic , hieratic meaning of the Byzantine mosaic can be seen frequently , but it is evidenced in the influence of Michelangelo , Titian and Tintoretto fundamentally.

The final judgement

The Last Judgment, Work that occupies the wall of the main altar of the Sistine Chapel , is a fresco made by Michelangelo between the years 1536 and 1541 , twenty years after the paintings on the ceiling of the church. It is one of the culminating works of Mannerism, with its apocalyptic vision characterized by tortured and grotesque characters.

Mannerism was characterized by the search for asymmetry, complication, darkened atmospheres.

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