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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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MANNERISM AND MANIERA"' Craig Hugh Smyth We speak of mannerism in many arts. Yet our concepts of it in each descend from the use of the word maniera was used and what development it referred to, so that we may compare our modern concepts of mannerism. This is one way of testing them, as Ernst Gombrich proposes. But let me add, I do so only in relation to painting. Our concepts of mannerism owe a lot to contributions made thirty-five or forty years ago. Of all these, I want to mention the classic work on the anticlassical style by Walter Friedlaender. Given first as a lecture in 1914, it showed the singular originality of pictures like Pontormo's Christ before Pilate (Fig. 1) and taught us their strange beauty. Walter Friedlaender and others disclosed for the first time a great deal about painting at the time of Raphael's death that will still meet our tests. Now being questioned anew, however, are some of their explanations and definitions, and even the assumption that paintings like the Christ before Pilate are mannerism. Although not widely shared, this doubt, expressed by Mario Salmi and a few others, keeps nagging. You may remember that Friedlaender was not satisfied with the term mannerism for such painting. He used it, but preferred the name "anticlassical style," because, as he explained, it ran counter to the High Renaissance, which to us is classic, or classical. Hermann Vos hung back, preferring to let ,. This paper is printed in...

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