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Readings in Italian Mannerism II

Architecture

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Edited By Liana De Girolami Cheney

This collection celebrates the 450th year anniversary of the publication of Giorgio Vasari’s Vite (The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects [Florence: Giunti, 1568]), in which, in the prolegomenon, architects were highly praised along with the principles and technology of architecture. To honor this significant event, the selected articles in this book contain some published excerpts, some revised and expanded, some never published. These articles demonstrate the extraordinary influence of the classical tradition in Renaissance and Mannerist architecture and its role in the education of architectural students. In particular, these essays discuss the materials employed and their functions as well as the architect’s role in society. These articles also address the impact of Mannerist architecture and art theory in sixteenth-century European architecture and culture.

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Introduction (Liana De Girolami Cheney)

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INTRODUCTION

Liana De Girolami Cheney

This Introduction is composed of four parts: a general overview about the historicity and meaning of Mannerism; a brief explanation about the origin of the term “Mannerism”; Giorgio Vasari’s definition of the Maniera style or Mannerism; and the format of the essays included in this book.

Mannerism: Reflections on a Labyrinthine World

In the twenty-first century there has arisen an interest in re-evaluating the history of the sixteenth century in terms of its periodization, definition, and interpretation. The long-held view that Italian Renaissance culture ended in 1520 has been challenged, and an extension of the period until the end of the sixteenth century is now being considered. The designation of the period between 1520 and 1585 has been coined as Anti-Renaissance, Late Renaissance, Counter-Renaissance, Pre-Baroque, and Mannerism—the latter title being preferred now.1

Parallel to these historical studies, art historians have endeavored to extend their grasp of early twentieth-century movements such as Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism. Studies of these twentieth-century styles indicate that radical changes have occurred in form and content in terms of the use of color for emotional moods, abstraction, and decomposition of the ← 1 | 2 → form for artificiality, and esoteric subject matter for intellectualism. Consequently, while evaluating these contemporary artistic changes, the twenty-first-century art historian, whether by accident or coincidence, has also undertaken the task of re-evaluating artistic periods in which analogous stylistic changes have taken place and has...

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