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Mannerist Art & Architecture

Pontormo's VIsitation, in Carmignano

Michelangelo may have left Florence permanently for Rome in 1534, but not before sowing the seeds for the bold, neurotic avant-garde art that has come to be known as Mannerism.

The first conscious ‘movement’ in Western art can be seen as a last fling amid the growing intellectual and spiritual exhaustion of 1530s Florence, conquered once and for all by the Medici. The Mannerists’ calculated exoticism and exaggerated, tortured poses and brilliant palette, together with the brooding self-absorption of Michelangelo, are a prelude to Florentine art’s remarkably abrupt turn into decadence and prophesy its final extinction.

Foremost among the Mannerist painters are two surpassingly strange characters, Jacopo Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino, who were not in such great demand as the coldly classical Andrea del Sarto and Bronzino, consummate perfectionists of the brush, both much less intense and demanding. There were also charming reactionaries working at the same time, especially Il Sodoma and Pinturicchio, both of whom left their best works in Siena.

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Bartolomeo Ammannati

Protean Mannerist

Agnolo Bronzino

Mannerist Chic

Bernardo Buontalenti

Fortresses and Ice Cream

Benvenuto Cellini

Big Bad Ben

Alessandro Fei

Vasari's Assistant


Mild Mannerist


Mannerist Virtuoso

Jacopo Pontormo

A Mannerist's Mannerist

Vicenzo de’ Rossi

Sculptor of Chunky Male Nudes

Rosso Fiorentino

Tortured Mannerist

Francesco Salviati

Mannerist Friend of Vasari

Santa Felicità

Home of Pontormo's Uncanny Deposition

Il Sodoma

Sienese Renaissance Master

Giorgio Vasari

Mediocre Artist, Decent Architect, Invaluable Writer

Jacopo Zucchi

Student of Vasari

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by PD Art