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a style in art and architecture (c.1520–1600), originating in Italy as a reaction against the equilibrium of form and proportions characteristic of the High Renaissance. In Florence, Pontormo and Bronzino, and in Rome, Il Rosso, Parmigianino, and Beccafumi created elegant figures elongated and contorted into uncomfortable postures. Mannerists devised compositions in which they deliberately confused scale and spatial relationships between figures, crowding them into the picture plane. Often strange tunnellike spaces were created, as in the works of Tintoretto and El Greco. Lighting became harsh, and coloring tended to be acrimonious. The mannerists devised sophisticated and obscure allegories. Among the prominent sculptors who created sinuous and sometimes bizarre forms were Giovanni Bologna, Ammanati, and to a certain extent Cellini. The style was carried into France by Primaticcio, Il Rosso, Niccolò dell'Abbate, and Cellini. It flourished particularly at Fontainebleau and was adapted by the sculptor Goujon and the engraver Callot. In architecture the style was manifested in the use of unbalanced proportions and arbitrary arrangements of decorative features. Elements of mannerism can be found in the elegant Laurentian Library in Florence, designed (c.1525) by Michelangelo; the Massimi Palace, Rome, planned by Peruzzi; the Palazzo del Te, Mantua, built and decorated by Giulio Romano; and the Uffizi, planned by Vasari. In Spain, Berruguette was a leading exponent of mannerism. Toward the end of the 16th cent., mannerism assumed an academic formalism in the works of the Zuccaro brothers. By the end of the century it had given way to the baroquebaroque
, in art and architecture, a style developed in Europe, England, and the Americas during the 17th and early 18th cent.

The baroque style is characterized by an emphasis on unity among the arts.
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See studies by S. J. Freedburg (2 vol., 1961), F. Würtenberger (1963), and M. Haraszti-Takas (1970).


A style of Italian architecture which was a reaction against the classical perfection of High Renaissance architecture, either responding with a rigorous application of classical rules and motifs or flaunting Classical convention in terms of shape and scale. It was a relaxed nonconformist style, using unnatural proportion and stylistic contradictions.



a trend in 16th-century European art that reflected the crisis of humanistic culture during the High Renaissance.

The basic aesthetic criterion of mannerism was taken not from nature but from a subjective “inner idea” of an artistic image that arose within the artist’s soul. Using the works of Michelangelo, Raphael, and other Renaissance masters as stylistic norms, the mannerists distorted their underlying harmonious principle by cultivating the concepts of an ephemeral world and of the precariousness of man’s fate, which they believed to be ruled by irrational forces. In the elitist manneristic art intended for the connoisseur, some elements of courtly and knightly medieval culture were reborn.

Mannerism was most clearly manifested in Italian art. Paintings by the early mannerists (Pontormo, Rosso Fiorentine, Beccafumi, and Parmigianino), who are associated with the 1520’s, are imbued with a sense of tragedy and mystic exaltation. The works of these masters are distinguished by sharp dissonances of color and chiaroscuro, complexity and exaggerated expressiveness of poses and movement, elongated figures, and virtuosic drawing, in which the line enclosing a form has substantive importance. In manneristic portraits (for example, Bronzino’s) which opened new vistas in the development of portraiture, the aristocratic aloofness of the characters is combined with an intensified, subjectively emotional attitude of the artist toward the subject. A unique contribution to the evolution of mannerism was made by the pupils of Raphael (Giulio Romano and Perino del Vaga, for example), whose monumental decorative works were dominated by atectonic, extremely grotesque ornamental elements.

From the 1540’s mannerism dominated art at the Italian courts. The painting of this period was coldly and “academically” formal and marked by a pedantically allegorical and eclectic style (G. Vasari, F. Zuccari, and G. P. Lomazzo). Characteristic of manneristic sculpture (B. Ammanati, B. Cellini, Giambologna, and B. Bandinelli) were stylized human figures, fragmented forms, and a bold treatment of the problem of sculpting in the round. In manneristic architecture (B. Ammanati, B. Buontalenti, G. Vasari, P. Ligorio, and Giulio Romano) humanistic clarity of image gave way to scenic effects, an aesthetic decor, and extravagant details.

The work of Italian masters outside of Italy (Rosso Fiorentino, Niccolo dell’Abbate, and Primaticcio in France; V. Carducci in Spain; and G. Arcimboldo in Bohemia), as well as the extensive dissemination of manneristic graphic works (including architectural-ornamental works), made mannerism a universal European style. Manneristic principles guided the work of representatives of the first Fontainebleau school (J. Cousin the Elder, J. Cousin the Younger, and A. Caron), the German H. von Aachen, and the Dutch painters A. Bloemaert, A. Vredeman de Vries, H. Vredeman de Vries, H. Goltzius, K. van Mander, B. Spranger, F. Floris, and Cornelis van Haarlem. However, the rise in Italy of Caravaggio and the academicians of the Bologna school marked the end of the manneristic style and the advent of the baroque. In modern Western art criticism there is a strong trend toward broadening the concept of mannerism unjustifiably by including in it masters who developed their own individual styles or who were only slightly influenced by mannerism (Tintoretto, El Greco, L. Lotto, and P. Brueghel the Elder).


Vipper, B. R. Bor’ba techenii v ital’ianskom iskusstve 16 veka. Moscow 1956.
Rotenberg, E. I. Iskusstvo Italii 16 veka. Moscow, 1967.
Brigand, G. Der italienische Manierismus. Leipzig, 1962.
Manierismo, Barocco, Rococo: concetti e termini. Rome, 1962.
Studies in Western Art, vol. 2: The Renaissance and Mannerism. Princeton N.J. 1963.
Bousquet, J. La peinture manieriste. [Neuchatel] 1964.
Hauser, A. Der Manierismus. Munich, 1964.
Tafuri, M. L’architettura del manierismo nel Cinquecento europeo. Rome, 1966.
The Meaning of Mannerism, Hanover (N.H.), 1972.



Transitional style in architecture and the arts in the late 16th cent., particularly in Italy, characterized in architecture by unconventional use of classical elements.


1. a principally Italian movement in art and architecture between the High Renaissance and Baroque periods (1520--1600) that sought to represent an ideal of beauty rather than natural images of it, using characteristic distortion and exaggeration of human proportions, perspective, etc.
2. adherence to a distinctive or affected manner, esp in art or literature
References in periodicals archive ?
1525-80) preside over other Renaissance bronzes in the study, with northern mannerist paintings hanging above them
What Bordwell is essentially arguing is that Hong is fundamentally a formally playful director who exhibits a mannerist mise-en-scene, connected to Bordwell's larger argument about parametric style (see Narration in the Fiction Film 274-310).
Similar Mannerist qualities can be identified in much of Stirling's work, particularly in the Neue Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, in the Braun factory at Melsungen, the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin, the Cornell University Center for the Performing Arts and the Lowry at Salford.
According to curator John Marciari, the exhibition presents not a "hard and fast" chronology of Mannerist prints but, rather, a counterpoint to the lack of Mannerist paintings in the museum's collection.
Beazley's Mannerist group (or school or workshop) practiced mannerism--sometimes through archaism--into the 390s.
An accompanying exhibit catalog featured essays by the various curators, including one by the Guggenheim's Jennifer Blessing, and while each works hard at building arguments for Mapplethorpe's placement in academic art history, little light is shed on how his photographs and these Mannerist prints actually correspond.
The exhibition exemplifies Mapplethorpe's rapport with the elongated and elaborate forms of Mannerist art, namely the study of the human body, highlighting the underlying classicism evident in the clarity and potency of all his subjects as well as their explosive energy.
Faced as he is with two frameworks of convention--the first inhering in the mannerist quality of the detective genre and the second deriving from his publisher's requirements--Wilson does a creditable job of securing space for suggestive comments on the work of Walter Mosley.
Being photographed by Avedon is one of the ordeals of celebrity, but the portrait by Todd Eberle, which the Times, in announcing his ascension to the Gagosian Gallery, reprinted from Vanity Fair, is a wonderful study of the Mannerist in his studio, rather than a mere demonstration, as in Avedon's case, of the photographer's will to power.
Mirollo has declared that "the problem of how to take it" (Mannerism 46) is itself a typical feature of mannerist art, so that the problem of deciding whether Marvell's poem is merely "about" a young girl or "about" the dangerous claim to tenderness of political factions becomes a recognizable feature of mannerism.
He was a prominent novelist and short story author of the 1960s and '70s; his best novels, Camp Concentration and 334, displayed a cool, distanced mannerist style tending toward a razor wit (often seen in this book as well), revealing social nuances of possible futures.
During the course of his study Ford gives perceptive insights into a number of associated matters, including the way in which the decorative and iconographical programmes of Renaissance 'chateaux' (and especially the Galerie Francois Ier at Fontainebleau) can be applied to Ronsard's hymns; the importance of Proclus for Ronsard's poetic theory and practice; the extent to which Ronsard's work shares mannerist principles and interests; the superiority of poetry over the plastic arts because of its allusiveness and the diversity of its emotional effects; the relationship between structural matters and hermeneutics; the value of defining and categorizing the Ronsardian hymne in terms not of its structure but of its function and its literary antecedents.