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The High Renaissance & Mannerism in Italy and the High Renaissance in the North - Essay Example

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Mannerism was characterized by the alteration of elements such as space and proportion. Mannerist architects and artists used the idealized and classical forms that were developed by artists…
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The High Renaissance & Mannerism in Italy and the High Renaissance in the North
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The High Renaissance & Mannerism in Italy and the High Renaissance in the North Introduction Mannerism refers to a style of architecture and arts that was used in the 16th century. Mannerism was characterized by the alteration of elements such as space and proportion. Mannerist architects and artists used the idealized and classical forms that were developed by artists of the Italian Renaissance. These artists exaggerated these forms using unconventional ways in order to heighten power, tension, elegance and emotion. Mannerism encompassed different stylistic approaches, which were influenced by the harmonious ideals that were associated with influential artists such as Michelangelo and Raphael (Murray, 2007). This differed from the stylistic and artistic ideals of the high renaissance, which focused on the exploration of the harmonious ideals.
Mannerists painted figures by using twisted or contorted poses and foreshortening. They used this technique to achieve an illusion of form projecting into space. This is evident in Michelangelo and Raphael’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. The paintings in the chapel appear stretched. The figures have elongated necks and torsos, which create unrealistic illusions of space (Murray, 2007). Additionally, the paintings in the ceiling of the chapel show sharp jumps from the foreground to the background instead of the usual gradual transition. In this case, Raphael and Michelangelo experimented with traditional subjects from mythology or the Bible in order to intensify emotional responses from the audience. This was also used in order to add to the visual or literary references.
Mannerism differs from high renaissance in terms of approach, content and form. High renaissance was the apex of visual arts. This was a period of extraordinary artistic production. The most popular artwork of this period is the Last Supper by Leonardo. Artwork of the high renaissance emphasized on classical tradition and the expansion of the network of patronage. During this period, there was a gradual attenuation of figures into an artistic style, which was later known as mannerism (Murray, 2007). Though the frescos of Michelangelo and Raphael were produced during the period of mannerism, their standards are considered as a culmination of the high renaissance style. These paintings are viewed as high renaissance because of their ambitious scale, complexity of composition, use of pointed iconographic and closely observed human figures.
The paintings of Raphael and Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel have differences and similarities to the artwork of the high renaissance. The classical principles of the arts of the high renaissance were balance, beauty and order, in addition to harmony, serenity and rational design. These attributes can be used to describe the frescos of Raphael and Michelangelo (Murray, 2007). The main difference between the two styles of arts is that mannerism assumes an anti-humanistic and anti-classical view of the world. Mannerism is notable for elongated forms, collapsed perspective and the use of precariously balanced poses. These are evident in paintings such as the Last Judgment on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and the Creation of Adam by Michelangelo.
Conclusion
Mannerism refers to an artistic period that followed the Italian High Renaissance. Mannerism encompassed different stylistic approaches that were influenced by the harmonious ideals of influential artists such as Raphael, Leonardo and Michelangelo. This differed from high renaissance because it explored these harmonious ideals. As shown in the frescos of the Sistine Chapel, mannerist used twisted poses and foreshortening as techniques for creating illusions of forms. The frescos also show that mannerists experimented with traditional subjects from mythology or the Bible in order to add visual or literal reference, and intensify emotional drama.
Reference
Murray, L. (2007). The high renaissance and mannerism: Italy, the north, and Spain, 1500-1600. New York: Oxford University Press. Read More
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