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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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PREFACE: Liana De Girolami Cheney xxv


PREFACE One of the most complex and stimulating issues in the history of art concerns Mannerism, whose beginning roughly coincides with the death of Raphael in 1520 ends around 1585 with the innovations of the Carracci. There is a minority of scholars who consider Mannerism to be a late manifestation of the Renaissance, and accordingly deny its existence altogether. On the other hand, the majority of scholars who treat sixteenth-century Italian art acknowledge the phenomenon of Mannerism, but disagree as to its constituent parts. In an endeavor to understand the art created following the High Renaissance, Mannerism has been divided essentially into three phases: Early Maniera or Mannerism (c. 1520-30), Maniera (c. 1530-50), and Late Maniera (c. 1550--85). However, such periodization remains controversial. The word Mannerism itself is also problematic. It has been defined variously, in terms ranging from style, comportment, and manner to working method, all of which have been based on interpretations of sixteenth-century texts. For the most part, the discussion has focused on the painting, to the detriment of the sculpture and architecture. Moreover, the majority of the studies on Mannerism have been concerned with style rather than content, owing to the basic training in connoisseurship given to art historians until relatively recently, and to the initial necessity of defining the period, and hence of differentiating the style of High Renaissance art from that of Mannerist art. At times, it becomes difficult to determine the focus of any given commentator on the issue, as the distinctions among...

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