Mannerism is known to have been created as a rejection of High Renaissance between the years of 1520 and 1600. The stylistic characteristic of Mannerism is the emotion and distortion of the experimental, elongated forms. The acid colors were seemingly symbolic of the emphasis on self conscious artifice over realistic depiction. The people of this period were tired of the stiff figures of the renaissance, and countered this with the exaggerated forms of Mannerist painting.

The artists that paved the way for Mannerism was Michelangelo, which had in turn had influenced Raphael. Michelangelo’s work that most reflected the mannerist movement was the Last Judgment, the Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and the Rodanini Pieta. Michelangelo and Raphael were not true mannerist painters; their later works simply reflected the shift that would occur near the end of Raphael’s life. Michelangelo was an excellent segues into the mannerist period from the renaissance period.

El Greco of Spain was an epitome of the Mannerist painting style. An excellent example of his work is St Peter in Penitence in the San Diego Museum of Art . Notice the twisting forms used to display the detail of his arm. The form is elongated with a separate rule of proportion from the Renaissance period. Also, the figure is more emotional than the stiff and stylized Renaissance style that preceded it. The colors are more acidic; blues mixed into the skin colors and greys used for other areas of the face and body. The background is a very dark color, however, there is not a extremely large contrast between the light and dark of the image which was seen in later in the Baroque period.

The baroque art period had started during an age of enlightenment. During the 17th century, it was discovered that the earth was in fact not the center of the universe, and with the discovery of the Americas, that Europe was not the center of the world. The Catholic Church was undergoing massive changes due to a brief revival after the rise of the protestant church. In order to gain new support for the faith, the church had called for realistic and dramatic art.
Baroque had emerged into an art type that focused more on the peasant class in more naturalistic settings than the earlier art types. Each of the subjects began to show more movement and energy, having their own personalities with intense spirituality. The intense emotion reflected in this art was further dramatized by the heavy contrast between light and dark images.

The Baroque period is sometimes considered a counter shift of mannerism (which was clearly a counter shift of high renaissance). Artists of this time tried to bring back naturalism and more human emotion. Spiritually was also revived, giving way to more religious paintings. It managed to come away with the emotion used for Mannerism painting but made it more realistic, geared toward the peasant class and commanworth. The paintings of the Baroque period were much easier to identify with than the mannerist and renaissance.

During the Baroque period, the most famous Spanish Baroque painter was Velasquez. Diego Velasquez was best known for his paintings of the royal family. A comparative example in this case, however, is a picture of his servant Juan de Pareja. The image isn’t as obviously dramatic as El Greco images, but it is more natural than previous works in art history. The colors are subtle, and more natural looking. Chiaroscuro is apparent with the heavy shadows. Also notice that this image isn’t associated with religious mythology at all. Art of this time was able to be more adventurous in terms of subject, not being religious propaganda.

The shift from the Mannerism to baroque period was relevant because of its appropriate shift from the stiff classical renaissance to a more realistic and emotional baroque period. Mannerism was possibly too crazy to stick around for very long, but it was just enough to make a public statement: art needed to change into something the people could identify with.

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