Mannerism


During the Low Renaissance, a historical period and artistic style arises, whose definition has been controversial, since it is understood as the imitation of the mannerism of masters of painting or, on some occasions, as the direct reaction to the aesthetic ideals presented in the classicism. It is often seen as an intellectual and elitist expression, which served as a background to the excesses presented in the Baroque style; Similarly, it is seen as an extension of the rich art provided by the great geniuses of the High Renaissance and which was despised by the critics of the time for being “decadent and degenerative”.

“Mannerism” comes from “maniera”, which for the writers of the 16th century, represented the “artistic personality”; therefore, and with the evolution of the term, it began to be used to talk about a specific style, such as the maniera greca (the Greek way), the maniera vecchia (the old way), among others. Later, he would begin the use of “manieristi”, as the name given to men who painted in the particular style of another artist, such as Leonardo Da Vinci (leonardesca maniera) or Michelangelo (michelaneglesca or grande maniera). It was from the 17th century that it began to be used in a pejorative sense, since the intellectuals of this time defined the Mannerists as “simple imitators, who rummage through their paintings”.

Mannerist plastic arts are characterized by representing the human body both naked and covered by extravagant clothes, in strange positions, with limbs longer than natural and a somewhat small head. The play of colors is far from reality, since they are cold and artificial, facing each other without the existence of a range of colors. Literature, for its part, was melancholy and disenchanted, with certain humanistic Renaissance features.