with a Foreword by Craig Hugh Smyth- Second Printing
Edited By Liana De Girolami Cheney
OBSERVATIONS ON THE USE OF THE CONCEPT OF MANNERISM: Henri Zerner 227
OBSERVATIONS ON THE USE OF THE CONCEPT OF MANNERISM Henri Zerner Mannerism has been a central subject of art historical discussions during the last half century. The term as a historical and critical category has meanwhile been adopted by students of music and literature and by cultural historians and has become the name of an age of civilization. Thus, art history bears a heavy responsibility, and while the art historian might be tempted to drop this by-now unwieldy, cumbersome notion altogether, he owes it to his colleagues to try to elucidate the possible uses of the word and the causes of the present state of confusion. If nothing more, I should like to make it clear to students of music and literature that their difficulty in using the concept of mannerism does not spring exclusively from applying a concept evolved in another discipline. The debate developed with the partial rehabilitation of the art that separates the High Renaissance from the baroque. This period was condemned as "mannerist" by the seventeenth century, and this anathema lasted until the end of the nineteenth. It was only with the questioning of classical norms, particularly under the influence of an expressionist sensibility in early twentieth-century Germany and Austria, that the situation was reexamined, and at that point the term emerged as a stylistic category without derogatory implications. I should like to distinguish two trends during this initial period of reassessment. Max Dvorak characterizes mannerism directly in terms of expressive content.1 Mannerism is defined as...
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