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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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V ASARI'S POSITION AS AN EXPONENT OF THE MANIERA STYLE Liana De Girolami Cheney From the time of the Renaissance, popes such as Nicholas V (1477-55), Sixtus IV (1471-84), Alexander VI (1492-1503), Julius II (1503-13) and Leo X (1513-21) were more concerned with establishing the papacy as an Italian political power, patronizing arts and learning, living in splendor, and enriching their relatives and favorites than they were with improving their role as religious leaders. Constantly at war with its neighbors, the Renaissance papacy made ever increasing economic demands of its Christian followers. The persistence of this attitude on the part of the popes throughout the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, along with their worldliness and their immorality, aggravated diplomatic relations and created resentment, doubts, and a sense of alienation throughout the Christian world. By the third decade of the Cinquecento, the papacy had lost prestige, power, and authority in the spiritual world. Its decline paralleled the rise of new monarchies across Europe (Spain, France, and Germany). Concern over the immorality of the Church and envy of Rome's ability to draw enormous sums of money through taxation generated strong religious animosity among the Germans and eventually led to revolt and war against the Church. Artists reflected this turmoil in their works by individualizing their style and representing highly personalized subject matter: Pontormo's Descent from the Cross, 1525, in the Capponi Chapel in Santa Felicita (Fig. 1), Rosso's Putto Playing the Lute, c.1525, in the Uffizi (Fig. 2), Parmigianino's Madonna of the...

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