Renaissance to Neoclassicism

± Mannerism and Late Renaissance - 1520 1600 ± Baroque - 1600 - 1730 ± Rococo - 1720 - 1780 ± Neoclassicism - 1750 - 1830

Mannerism
‡ is a period of European art which emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to replace it, but continued into the seventeenth century throughout much of Europe. ‡ Mannerism encompasses a variety of approaches influenced by, and reacting to, the harmonious ideals and restrained naturalism associated with artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and early Michelangelo. ‡ Mannerism is notable for its intellectual sophistication as well as its artificial (as opposed to naturalistic) qualities.

In Parmigianino's Madonna with the Long Neck (1534-40), Mannerism makes itself known by elongated proportions, highly stylized poses, and lack of clear perspective.

Alessandro Allori's (1535 1607) Susanna and the Elders uses artificial, waxy eroticism and consciously brilliant still life detail, in a crowded contorted composition. The viewer is brought so close to the subjects as to almost feel claustrophobic²like a third elder leering at the scene of a young, seemingly paralyzed Susanna being groped and assaulted by the two lecherous predators.

Mannerist portraits by Agnolo Bronzino are distinguished by a still elegance and meticulous attention to detail. As a result, Bronzino's sitters have been said to put an uncommunicative abyss between subject and viewer, concentrating on rendering of the precise pattern and sheen of rich textiles.

Jacopo Tintoretto's Last Supper (at left) epitomizes Mannerism by taking Jesus and the table out of the middle of the room. He showed all that was happening. In sickly, disorienting colors he painted a scene of confusion that somehow separated the angels from the real world. He had removed the world from God's reach.

Baroque
‡ Beginning around the year 1600, the demands for new art resulted in what is now known as the Baroque. The canon promulgated at the Council of Trent (1545±63) by which the Roman Catholic Church addressed the representational arts by demanding that paintings and sculptures in church contexts should speak to the illiterate rather than to the well-informed, is customarily offered as an inspiration of the Baroque, which appeared, however, a generation later.

Baroque
‡ In paintings, Baroque gestures are broader than Mannerist gestures: less ambiguous, less arcane and mysterious, more like the stage gestures of opera, a major Baroque artform. Baroque poses depend on contrapposto ("counterpoise"), the tension within the figures that moves the planes of shoulders and hips in counterdirections. It made the sculptures almost seem like they were about to move.

Aeneas flees burning Troy, Federico Barocci, 1598: a moment caught in a dramatic action from a classical source, bursting from the picture plane in a sweeping diagonal perspective.

Adoration, by Peter Paul Rubens. Dynamic figures spiral down around a void: draperies blow: a whirl of movement lit in a shaft of light, rendered in a free bravura handling of paint.

Rembrandt, Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee, 1633. Still missing after robbery from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

Rococo
‡ is a style of 18th century French art and interior design. Rococo rooms were designed as total works of art with elegant and ornate furniture, small sculptures, ornamental mirrors, and tapestry complementing architecture, reliefs, and wall paintings. It was largely supplanted by the Neoclassic style. ‡ The word Rococo is seen as a combination of the French rocaille, or shell, and the Italian barocco, or Baroque style.

A Rococo Revival Parlor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A Rococo interior in Gatchina.

Juste-Aurele Meissonnier engraved design for a side table, c 1730, engraving

Pilgrimage to Cythera by Jean-Antoine Watteau, captures the frivolity and sensuousness of Rococo painting. (1721, Louvre)

Marie-Louise O'Murphy (1737-1818), mistress to Louis XV of France, painted by Francois Boucher (1703±1770) circa 1752

Neoclassicism
(sometimes rendered as Neo-Classicism or Neo-classicism) is the name given to quite distinct movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw upon Western classical art and culture (usually that of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome). These movements were dominant during the mid 18th to the end of the 19th century.

Psyché ranimée par le baiser de l'Amour (Psyche revived by the kiss of Love). Marble, 1793.

‡ Porcelain vase of "Medici Vase" profile, decorated in "Pompeian" black and red, St Petersburg, ca 1830

Henry Fuseli, The Artist Moved to Despair by the Grandeur of Antique Fragments 1778-79 Red chalk on sepia wash, Kunsthaus, Zürich

‡ Odysseus in front of Scylla and Charybdis, Fussli's Romance painting of Odysseus facing the choice of monsters, giving the phrase: between Scylla and Charybdis, 17941796

The End

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