Characteristics of mannerism architecture painting and sculpture


Style that characterized European art between the years 1520 and 1600 approximately. In this article we will provide you the Characteristics of mannerism.

Mannerism was the style that characterized European art between the years 1520 and 1600, approximately. This arose in Italy and from there it spread to almost all of Europe, through the work of Italian artists in the different royal courts.

Its beginning is usually established after the death of Rafael Sanzio , the last representative of a classicist and balanced Renaissance .

The name Mannerism derives from the word “maniera”, which in 16th century Italian meant “style.” However, it originally had a negative connotation: 17th century theorists called it this in reference to what appeared to be the imitation of the Renaissance style by artists not as talented as those of the previous generation.

Characteristics of mannerism

The main characteristics of mannerism are as follows:

  • It is an art that arose from the crisis that meant for Italy the loss of its economic supremacy, as well as the impact on the papacy of the Protestant Reformation and the sacco of Rome by the troops of Charles V.
  • During the seventeenth century and until the twentieth century it was considered a decadent art , an imperfect continuation of the Renaissance. Mannerist artists were seen as untalented imitators of the great Renaissance artists , especially Rafael Sanzio and Michelangelo Buonarroti.
  • It was revalued from the 20th century on when it was analyzed as an original manifestation of a particular moment in European society .
  • Contrary to the classical formulas of the previous period, which were modeled on the old classics and nature, the Mannerists took as a reference the works of artists of the generations before them.
  • Above these classical norms of art, the artists privileged inner visionsubjectivity and personal taste . This subjectivity manifested itself in different ways: while some artists expressed spiritual visions; others produced intellectual and sophisticated works.
  • In the formal aspect, the Mannerist works were characterized by decentration, the disarticulation of the spatial unit, the loss of logical relationship between the main and the secondary, the use of dissonant colors, exaggerations and disproportions.
  • It is an international and aristocratic artistic style , often associated with a certain intellectual diversion linked to the consumption of the upper classes.

Mannerism in painting and sculpture

Some of the characteristics of mannerism in the plastic arts are the following:

  • Mannerism paintings and sculptures are characterized by their artificiality . There is no direct relationship between what is represented and the natural model.
  • Twisted bodies and shapes are represented, generating a spiral movement called serpentinate . The anatomies are deformed and elongated.
  • Spatial coherence is abandoned: it is difficult to determine which is the space where the characters are located and the spatial relationships between them.
  • The use of color and light is arbitrary. In some cases, strident and striking colors are used, while in others dark tones with deep shadows are used.

Architectural mannerism

Mannerist buildings lose their visual clarity . Many times the elements that had a structural function in previous periods were preserved, but only with an ornamental function.

Some  classical elements such as tympanums, semicircular arches and classical capitals continued to be used, but now in an anti-classical way.

On the other hand, the plants here tend to present ambiguities, making it difficult to understand the space.

Literary mannerism

Although the term Mannerism is not usually used in relation to literature, the literary production of the 16th century shares certain characteristics with other artistic productions.

Works that articulate the transition between the Renaissance and the Baroque , such as Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, can be considered Mannerist .

Among other characteristics, the literature of this period left aside the classical models and presented contradictions, a mixture of fantasy and reality, excessive and grotesque characters, extravagant elements and temporary jumps, among others.

Mannerism artists

In paint

Some of the main artists of Mannerism in painting were:

  • Jacopo Carrucci (Pontormo) (1494-1557) : Italian painter.
  • Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola (il Parmigianino) (1503-1540) : Italian painter.
  • Jacopo Comin (Tintoretto) (1518-1594) : Venetian painter.
  • Doménikos Theotokópoulos (El Greco) (1541-1614) : Cretan painter.

In sculpture

Some of the main sculptors of Mannerism were:

  • Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) : Italian sculptor, goldsmith and writer.
  • Jean Boulogne (Giovanni da Bologna or Giambologna) (1529-1608) : Flemish sculptor.

In architecture

Some of the main artists of Mannerism in architecture were:

  • Giulio Pippi (Giulio Romano) (1499-1546) : Italian painter, architect and decorator.
  • Andrea di Pietro della Góndola (Andrea Palladio) (1508-1580) : Venetian architect.

In literature

Some of the main artists of Mannerism in literature were:

  • Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616) : novelist, poet, playwright and Spanish soldier.
  • William Shakespeare (1564-1616) : English playwright.

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