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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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MANNERIST ART: SURVIVAL AND COLLECTION Iris Hofmeister Cheney In view of the strongly negative critical evaluation of mannerist art from the mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries, it may seem surprising that so much of it survives. In fact, it was relatively rare for an important mannerist work like the Pontormo frescoes in the choir of S. Lorenzo to be deliberately destroyed. Taste alone does not determine what is preserved and what is replaced, however. The official and propagandistic nature of so many works from the middle and later sixteenth century has protected them, and when we consider the history of collection we need to think in terms of individual art forms rather than of mannerism as a monolithic entity. The mannerist sculptures of Piazza Signoria in Florence are icons of state, and the contemporary fresco cycles in the Palazzo Vecchio carry the myth of Florence in its Medicean ducal reincarnation. Later sixteenth-century decorative cycles at the Vatican, such as those in the Sala Regia and the Galleria delle Carte Geografiche, argue serious issues of continuing validity for the Church: the prerogatives of the papacy in relation to the power of secular monarchs and the Catholic vision of Christian history in the face of Protestant redefinition. On a more private level, the Farnese used the walls of their numerous residences to develop and update family iconography. That many of these works are also handsome decorative ensembles enabled them to function as effective rooms of state after their original meaning dimmed....

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