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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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OBSERVATIONS ON THE PAINTING OF THE MANIERA Sydney J. Freedberg The observations this essay makes on the states of mind and the methods of Maniera painting may seem difficult and artificial, but this is what the subject asks.1 Maniera is the product of a culture of the most extreme sophistication, and simple truths are not in its line. In Maniera we confront a moment of the history of art for which the single most pregnant symbol may be the mask: it is inevitable that we be frustrated in some measure in our attempt to penetrate it. Even to define the subject on which our observations should be made brings us on shifting ground. It is generally but by no means universally taken that the Maniera is the style practiced by most of the painters of the Florentine and Roman schools between roughly 1540 and 1580 and by extension, the term may be applied to the style of many painters in other schools, in the Emilia especially, whose works resemble the contemporary central Italian product. The unequivocally Maniera painters belong to the generation born about 1510 or later, and include many of the younger painters whom these masters carne in time to teach. However, there are instances where older painters, born in the first decade of the century or earlier, are recognizably assimilated to the Maniera style and in Florence a prime master of the Maniera, Agnolo Bronzino, is a member of this slightly older generation, born in 1503. In almost...

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