Artistic Movements, Periods and Styles in 5 Points

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  • It is a transition period between the Renaissance and the Baroque. The Italian word maniera means style, and refers to the mastery and refinement with which artists executed their works
  • The artist’s intention was to openly display his virtuosity. As the perfection of Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael was considered “unsurpassed”, some artists wanted to demonstrate that their talent equaled that of the great masters. Others, however, sought to go beyond, voluntarily breaking all conventions to create something intelligent, novel and shocking with respect to the previous generation.
  • The most characteristic features of Classicism: proportion, harmony, serenity, balance —which had just been recovered in the Renaissance— were set aside.
  • It was characterized by bright, gaudy, almost unreal colors. Also for the complex, exaggerated compositions, with dramatic movement and tone (anticipation of the Baroque).
  • In the mannerist paintings, there are figures with strange and whimsical proportions, which gives them an unreal, artificial aspect, but they have a beauty full of grace and elegance. The figures —as those in this painting— are usually in very difficult positions to paint, such as the serpentine figure or the foreshortening, which only an artist with true virtuosity can perform.


Representative Artists: El Greco, Tintoretto, Pontormo, Giulio Romano, Bronzino, Correggio, Parmigianino, Rosso Fiorentino, Lavinia Fontana.

Image: Leda and the Swan (1532). Correggio.


Recommended links:

El Greco and the Color of Mannerism.

Lavinia Fontana and the “Maniera.”

Pontormo and His Colors.

El Greco:The Burial of the Count of Orgaz .


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