An art movement that emerged in roughly the 1520s inspired by the unprecedented architectural forms Michelangelo introduced in the vestibule of the Laurentian Library (1524-1534) and Medici Chapel (New Sacristy of San Lorenzo, Florence, 1519-1534), and the sculptural figures in this last commission with their exaggerated musculature and unsteady poses. Mannerists purposely denied the strict classicism and emphasis on the pleasing aesthetics of the High Renaissance and instead embraced an anti-classical mode of representation that entailed the use of illogical elements, jarring colors and lighting, contorted figures, and ambiguous iconographic programs. The early exponents of this movement were Jacopo da Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino who favored circular compositions with a void in the center, scenes that move up instead of logically receding into space, abrupt color combinations, and harsh lighting that ignores the subtle Renaissance gradations from light to medium to dark. Rather than looking to nature for inspiration, these masters looked to Michelangelo, the result being an art that can be categorized as self-consciously artificial, highly sophisticated, and cerebral.
   The pioneer of Mannerist architecture was Giulio Romano who designed for Duke Federigo Gonzaga of Mantua the Palazzo del Tè (1527-1534), a structure with asymmetrical placement of pilasters, stringcourses that are interrupted by massive keystones, and pronounced rustications on all the exterior surfaces. Mannerism soon spread to other parts of Italy and Europe. Perino del Vaga brought the vocabulary to Rome and Genoa, Domenico Beccafumi to Siena, Correggio to Parma, and Parmigianino to Parma, Rome, and Bologna. A second waive of Mannerist artists emerged toward the middle of the 16th century, including Agnolo Bronzino, Giorgio Vasari, and Federico Barocci. Benvenuto Cellini, Bartolomeo Ammannati, and Giovanni da Bologna translated the Mannerist idiom into sculpture, and Ammannati and Vasari also applied it to architecture. Rosso and Francesco Primaticcio traveled to France to work in the court of King Francis I. At the Palace of Fontainebleau, they invented a new type of decoration that combined stucco, metal, and woodwork with painting and sculpture, establishing what today is known as the Fontainebleau School, a French version of Mannerism. In the Low Countries, Mannerism was adopted by a group of masters known as the Romanists, among them Jan Gossart, Joos van Cleve, Bernard van Orley, and Jan van Scorel.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.


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  • Mannerism — Man ner*ism, n. [Cf. F. mani[ e]risme.] 1. Adherence to a peculiar style or manner; a characteristic mode of action, bearing, behavior, or treatment of others. [1913 Webster] 2. Adherence to a peculiar style or manner carried to excess,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • mannerism — excessive use of distinctive methods in art or literature, 1803, from MANNER (Cf. manner) + ISM (Cf. ism). Meaning an instance of mannerism, habitual peculiarity is from 1819. Related: Mannerisms …   Etymology dictionary

  • mannerism — ► NOUN 1) a habitual gesture or way of speaking or behaving. 2) the use of a highly distinctive style in art, literature, or music. 3) (Mannerism) a style of 16th century Italian art characterized by distortions in scale and perspective.… …   English terms dictionary

  • mannerism — index characteristic, habit, identity (individuality), quirk (idiosyncrasy), specialty (distinctive mark) …   Law dictionary

  • mannerism — *pose, air, affectation Analogous words: *eccentricity, idiosyncrasy: peculiarity, singularity, oddness, queerness (see corresponding adjectives at STRANGE) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • mannerism — [n] peculiarity of how someone behaves, acts affectation, air, characteristic, eccentricity, foible, habit, idiosyncrasy, oddness, pose, pretension, queerness, quirk, singularity, trait, trick; concept 644 …   New thesaurus

  • mannerism — [man′ər iz΄əm] n. 1. excessive use of some distinctive, often affected, manner or style in art, literature, speech, or behavior 2. a peculiarity of manner in behavior, speech, etc. that has become a habit 3. [M ] a 16th cent. style in art… …   English World dictionary

  • Mannerism — In Parmigianino s Madonna with the Long Neck (1534 40), Mannerism makes itself known by elongated proportions, highly stylized poses, and lack of clear perspective. Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the… …   Wikipedia

  • mannerism — mannerist, n. manneristic, adj. manneristically, adv. /man euh riz euhm/, n. 1. a habitual or characteristic manner, mode, or way of doing something; distinctive quality or style, as in behavior or speech: He has an annoying mannerism of tapping… …   Universalium

  • Mannerism —    Term used by art historians to label a style of painting, sculpture, and architecture that arose in the 1520s as a variant of the style of High Renaissance masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. The death of Leonardo in… …   Historical Dictionary of Renaissance

  • MANNERISM —    Although the style of Mannerist architecture is relatively easy to recognize, scholars differ in their explanations of its origins and motivations. Mannerist architecture first appeared in Italy in the 1520s. It is sometimes thought to have… …   Historical Dictionary of Architecture