Mannerism refers to the movement in the visual arts that spread through much of Europe between the High Renaissance and Baroque periods. It originated in Italy, where it lasted from about 1520 to 1600, and can be described as “mannered” in that it emphasized complexity and virtuosity over naturalistic representation. While the formal vocabulary of Mannerism takes much from the later works of Michelangelo and Raphael, its adherents generally favored compositional tension and instability rather than the balance and clarity of earlier Renaissance painting. Some characteristics common to many Mannerist works include distortion of the human figure, a flattening of pictorial space, and a cultivated intellectual sophistication.











"Late Renaissance
1520 to late 16th century
maniera = artificial
Michelangelo, Last Judgment, 1536 - 1541.










Michelangelo, detail of the Last Judgment, 1536 - 1541.











Renaissance vs. Mannerist Styles
  • Sought equilibrium
  • Sought instability
  • Harmonious
  • Dissonant
  • Reasonable
  • Emotional
  • Realistic
  • Imaginiative
Jacopo da Pontormo, Entombment of Christ, 1525 - 1528.










Madonna with the Long Neck
Titian, Pesaro Madonna, 1526.
Parmigianino, Madonna with the Long Neck, 1534 - 1540.











sacra conversazione
paragoni = comparisons
colore or colorito = colored or painted
disegno = drawing and design
Bellini, Madonna and Child with Saints (San Zaccaria Altarpiece), 1505.
Raphael, Sistine Madonna, 1513 - 1514.





















Characteristics of Mannerism:
  • Extraordinary technical skill
  • Elegant composition
  • Irrational spatial effects
  • Figures with elongated proportions, exaggerated pose, and enigmatic gestures
  • Erotic imagery
Rosso Fiorentino, Marriage of the Virgin, 1523.











Andrea del Castagno, Last Supper, c. 1445 - 1450.
Tintoretto, The Last Supper, 1592 - 1594.











allegory = an image that symbolically illustrates an idea, concept, or principle, often moral or religious
"The moral is that folly blinds one to the jealousy and fraud of sensual love, which time reveals." - Janson's History of Art
Bronzino, Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time,
c. 1546.