Choose a language
Use Arthive in the language you prefer
Sign up
Create an account
Register to use Arthive functionality to the maximum


1,110 artworks, 129 artists
Mannerism (it. maniera — “style, manner”) is an art movement that originated in Rome and Florence at the beginning of the 16th century, in the late period of the High Renaissance. The emergence of a new style was the result of the art crisis at the period when the power of the Catholic Church decreased and the Reformation came into way. This period was marked by scientific discoveries, travels around the world, the discovery of America. The Catholic Church struggled with the growing influence of Protestantism and the emergence of radical philosophical ideas. Mannerism was the result of the emotional and moral uncertainty of artists, sculptors and other artistic people. The great artists of the Renaissance seemed naive and idealistic, and the harmony, balance, naturalism of the image, strict artistic canons were too hard to follow for the painters of the new generation. Harmony was replaced by a metaphor and grotesque. Mannerism in painting lasted until the early 1600s and became the basis for the formation of the Baroque style.

In fact, mannerists became imitators of the great masters of the Renaissance, but they rejected the old canons and techniques. The artists abandoned the principles of harmony and balance and created compositions overloaded with colour and objects. Human figures became disproportionate, elongated, “serpentine”, which was an allegory of the worldview and social norms deformation. Tense and exaggerated poses, dramatic and expressive facial expressions, exotic costumes, exquisite ornate lines with alternating smoothness and fracture are striking in their works. All this illustrated the artistic search and emotional tension in society.

The mannerist painters oversaturated the paintings with nudity, eroticism, or, on the contrary, with exceptional asceticism. Lighting effects and non-standard perspective were widely used. The colours were bright, vibrant, saturated with combinations of blue and pink shades. Some canvased combined mythology with religion, nudity with gloomy landscapes, facts with allegory. Although the painting subjects were dramatic, and the characters were emotional, the superficiality and lack of ideological integrity of the story was in evidence.

Significant mannerist paintings:
Laocoön, 1610, The Assumption of the Virgin, 1579, El Greco, The Conversion of Saul, 1528, Madonna with a Long Neck, 1540, Francesco Parmigianino, The Descent from the Cross, 1529, The Virgin and Child with St Joseph and St John the Baptist, 1520, Jacopo Pontormo, The Disbelief of St. Thomas, 1547, Francesco Salviati. A vivid example and masterpiece of mannerism is the The Rape of the Sabine Women sculpture, 1583, by the Florentine Giambologna.

Mannerism artists:
Francesco Parmigianino, Jacopo Pontormo, Giovanni Battista Naldini, Giulio Romano, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Bronzino, Rosso Fiorentino, Francesco Salviati, Domenico Beccafumi, Alessandro Allori, Artemisia GentileschiTintoretto and Titian can also be regarded as mannerism artists.