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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 ANTI-MANNERISM IN ITALIAN PAINTING Walter F. Friedlaender In his life of Jacopo da Pontormo, Vasari speaks approximately as follows of the frescoes in the Certosa: "For Pontormo to have imitated Durer in his motifs (invenzioni) is not in itself reprehensible. Many painters have done so and still do. In this he certainly did not go astray. However, it is extremely regrettable that he took over the German manner lock, stock, and barrel, down to the facial expression and even in movement. For through this infiltration of the German manner his original early manner, which was full of beauty and grace and which with his innate feeling for beauty he had completely mastered, was transformed from the ground up and utterly wiped out. In all his works under the influence of the German manner, only slight traces are recognizable of the high quality and the grace which had previously belonged to his figures." As an artist Vasari is a mannerist of a strict Michelangelesque vein. But as a writer he is for the most part nonpartisan and in general much more benevolent than critical. His harsh words against Pontormo's imitation of Durer are surely an expression not only of his own opinion, but also of the general opinion of the public. There was a feeling abroad, quite aside from any nationalism, that a major step had been taken here, one fraught with consequences. Vasari saw perfectly correctly that the imitation of Diirer on Pontormo's part involved not merely single...

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