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Readings in Italian Mannerism

with a Foreword by Craig Hugh Smyth- Second Printing


Edited By Liana De Girolami Cheney

The aim of this book is to focus on the origin of the historiography of the terms Mannerism and Maniera in paintings and drawings of the sixteenth-century in Italy. The articles herewith presented fall into two categories. The first group explains the definition of the terms Mannerism and Maniera, their periodicity, and their sources as illustrated by Giorogio Vasari, John Shearman, Craig Hugh Smyth, and Sydney Freedberg. The second deals with the polemic associated with the usage of the term and historiography and its application as voiced by Walter Friedlaender, Max Dvorak, Ernst Gombrich, Henri Zerner, David Summers, Malcolm Campbell, and Iris Cheney.


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FOREWORD: Craig Hugh Smyth xxiii


FOREWORD Arts of sixteenth-century Italy from the second decade to approximately the last decade are being approached nowadays in newly affirmative ways. For anyone beginning to consider these arts, Liana De Girolami Cheney's book makes past approaches available as background for the new. Mannerism is the label that painting first, and then the other arts, from this long span of time-most of the sixteenth century, by far-have borne in our century. Implications of the term Mannerism since the eighteenth century and the variety of new concepts of Mannerism since 1900 have partly opened, partly closed, twentieth century eyes and minds to the arts of these most mature years of the Italian Renaissance. Predictably, there is change. When, to cite my own experience, it became evident that painting at mid-sixteenth century could be recognized as the culmination of Renaissance efforts to achieve in pictures a modern version of antique form, veils seemed lifted, opening toward positive views of painting long dismissed as decline. By now, many studies have given us new affirmative knowledge and understanding of the arts still labelled Mannerism. At last there are full catalogues of work by leading artists of the time. All the arts are open to fresh examination. Striking to me is a new generation's exploration of the complex variety of image and content achieved by sixteenth-century painting in its modernly antique language. For a recent example, there is word now of an innovative study of "the rhetoric of style" in mural painting at mid-century, exploring...

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