Posted on

European Art Style: Mannerism

European Art Style: Mannerism

European Art Style: Mannerism . Europe has been a hub for art throughout history. The many changes over hundreds of years still inspire artists today. Famous works abound in museums, and private collections all over the world. Europe has been through the Enlightenment, the Renaissance, and Romanticism, to name a few. Mannerism is one of the past forms, as well. Mannerism brought a short term change that overlapped with the Renaissance.

The Time Frame

Mannerism came into play towards the end of the Italian High Renaissance. It did not last as long as some of the other periods. Ending near the end of the 16th century, it did not get started until about 1520. The form endured for less than a century. Some areas, however, held on to it a bit longer than others. In the Norther regions, it could still be found in the beginning of the 17th century. It seems to have accompanied a time of intellectual change in other
art forms.

The Style

When viewing art from the time of Mannerism, some may feel get the feeling that something is just not right. Certain parts of the paintings simply do not fit. This is not an imagined observation. Many natural forms of existence are
challenged in art from this time period. Mannerism portraits show exaggerations of many areas of the body, even those that may seem insignificant in other art works. Mannerism artists continued to bring oddities to the works and focused more on these than the subjects they chose. This completely shifted the meaning of art, as the focus was more on what the artist was doing to the work other than what the work was about.

Elongation of necks, arms, and legs were a normal occurrence

Bodily proportions were completely absurd in many of these works. Elongation of necks, arms, and legs were a normal occurrence. The unnatural did not stop with the malformation of the human form. Color was also misused according to older, more formal art periods. The abstract, or bizarre works that resulted dismissed the emotional frailty of earlier time periods. Connection to these pieces came in a different form. Human empathy and recognition were not the qualities that made people relate to these pieces. The strange and complex themes attracted a different audience, one that may have enjoyed a more detached approach to art and the world.

Different from Renaissance

While the two art forms did overlap in the early 16th century, Mannerism and Renaissance art quickly separated from each other. This time period is often referred to as the “late Renaissance”. The art, however, did not comply with this title after a certain amount of time had passed. Renaissance art shared with the world the beautiful shapes of humans and their realistic forms. Most people look at Renaissance art and can instantly relate, or feel emotions
pertaining to the subject matter.

Mannerism brings a different approach. This approach involves foregoing emotion and attempting to make sense of the work. This seems to have been the goal of many artists. The Baroque style followed had maintained a much longer duration. Mannerism was often looked down on for its offending style. Part of this offense and dislike may be due to the fact that it followed the ever enduring Renaissance artperiod, where beauty and grace abounded. Perhaps the sorrow of the loss of Renaissancework weighed heavily on many art lovers.

Famous Artists of Mannerism

Giorgio Vasari

Giorgio Vasari Mannerism
Vasari was born in Italy in 1511. He was, therefore, a young artist that grew up during the period of Mannerism. Giorgio brought his talents in many different forms. He was a painter, yet also excelled in writing and architecture. His most memorable contributions to the art world, however, are is biographies of artists in the past. As a contributor to the Mannerism time period, he wrote extensively about Renaissance art.

Closely associated with the Medici family, Vasari, grew up with an appreciation for artists such as Michelangelo. Famous paintings of his are located in the Palazzo Vecchio. The interesting part of his work is that it remained highly Christian in nature, even with the unusual changes of the time period. His works include

“The Deposition”


 The “Incredulity of St. Thomas”

The “Incredulity of St. Thomas

  “The Nativity with the “Adoration of the Shepherds”

The Nativity with the “Adoration of the Shepherds Mannerism

Mannerism in his paintings seemed less prominent and it is easy to see the Renaissance influence in them.

Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola, (Parmigianino)

Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola, (Parmigianino) Mannerism
Parmigianino was born early in the 16th century, while the Renaissance was still going on. He was from Parma, yet his
talent took him to Florence, Bologna, and Rome. He is well-known for his work

“Madonna with the Long Neck” (1534)

Madonna with the Long Neck Mannerism

This work clearly shows the effects of Mannerism on paintings. The subject of the painting was given an unusually long neck that is uncharacteristic of any regularly proportioned human.

This is the exaggeration that made art so obscure during this time period. His time as an artist fell
only during the time of Mannerism, therefore, most of his work presented clearly with the famed attributes. Unlike some artists whose careers or education allowed for a mixture of forms. Other than his paintings, which now reside in museums, he attended to permanent works such as frescos.

“The Vision of St. Jerome”

The Vision of St. Jerome Mannerism

is another one of his famous paintings. In this painting the colors are vivid, representative of Mannerism.

Agnolo di Cosimo (Bronzino)

Agnolo di Cosimo (Bronzino)  Mannerism
Bronzino was also born in 1503, and resided in Florence. He was employed for a lengthy time as a painter in the court of Cosimo l de Medici. His focus on portraits was supplemented by religious art and paintings with allegorical characters. Agnolos education was with another artist of the Mannerism period named Pontormo. His training was highly respected due to Pontormo’s status as a prominent artist in the early years of Mannerism.

“Portrait of Andrea Doria as Neptune”

Portrait of Andrea Doria as Neptune  Mannerism

depicts more natural coloring than is noticed during this art period, however the detailed body characteristics are extremely clear, if not exaggerated. Since he was known for many portraits, colors were is main contribution to the Mannerism style in many works.

 Mannerism came after a time of great beauty, the Renaissance. Many pieces of art during this time were not well accepted until much later. Most are now in museums in many parts of the world, and claim a high status. There was no shortage of artists during this short time period, however, it was clearly a time of transition between two more prominent art forms.