Mannerism, which literally means "style", was a period in European art that began in Italy in the final years of the Renaissance and lasted until it was replaced by Baroque, about 1520 to 1600. During this time, young artists were trying to establish their own style, with a new approach to painting and interpretation of the human experience. They had their difficulties as it were. Virtually everything that could be done, had been done. The artists of the Renaissance, masters such as Raphael and Michelangelo, studied the human form and nature for inspiration. Their art was balanced and harmonious. The proportions of their subjects were authentic and their art was often religious in nature. Mannerists, however, often painted their subjects with disproportionate features, such as elongated necks and limbs. Open spaces were filled with objects or figures that were often unnecessary. Subjects' poses were often difficult, if not impossible, for a real human to achieve, colors clashed, and themes were often grim and menacing, reflecting the upheaval of Europe at this time. During the 16th century, Rome was sacked, ending the Italian Renaissance, the Catholic Church was losing ground during the Protestant Reformation, the Eighty-Years' War surged in the Netherlands and Spain, and the Plague killed millions across Europe and Asia. Many felt the disproportionate tone of Mannerism was a rejection of the balance of the High Renaissance and the idealism it represented (Smyth).
Baroque style originated in the late 16th century and included art, music and architecture. Originally meaning "rough pearl", Baroque is now used to mean "elaborate" or "dramatic". At the time, it was intended to arouse strong emotion in its observers. During the Council of Trent (1545-1563), the Catholic Church decided that artists should render their religious works to inform the illiterate, rather than the knowledgeable. They ordered that the message should be direct and that it...
Cited: “Baroque”. (n.d.). Retrieved from academics.smcvt.edu/awerbel/Survey of Art History II/Baroque.htm web.5 Dec 2013
Hunt, Martin, Rosenwein, and Smith . The Making of the West (third ed.). Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin 's. 2010 Print
Smyth, Craig Hugh. 1992. Mannerism and Maniera, with an introduction by Elizabeth Cropper. Vienna Web. 5 Dec 2013
Schiller, G. Iconography of Christian Art, Vol. II, 1972 (English trans from German), Lund Humphries, London, 2012 Print.
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