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Mannerism Paintings

Derived from the Italian maniera, used by sixteenth-century artist and biographer Giorgio Vasari, the term Mannerism refers to the movement in the visual arts that spread through much of Europe between the High Renaissance andBaroque periods. It originated in Italy, where it lasted from about 1520 to 1600, and can be described as "mannered" in that it emphasized complexity and virtuosity over naturalistic representation. While the formal vocabulary of Mannerism takes much from the later works of Michelangelo (1475-1564) and Raphael (1483-1520), its adherents generally favored compositional tension and instability rather than the balance and clarity of earlier Renaissance painting. Some characteristics common to many Mannerist works include distortion of the human figure, a flattening of pictorial space, and a cultivated intellectual sophistication. Certain aspects of Mannerism are anticipated in the work of Andrea del Sarto (1486-1530). Although Andrea's style was rooted in the artistic ideals of the High Renaissance, such as the integration of naturally proportioned figures in a clearly defined space, his expressive use of vibrant color and varied, complex poses inspired the first generation of Mannerist painters in Florence.

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