Films » Art’s Wildest Movement: Mannerism

Art’s Wildest Movement: Mannerism

Mannerism is the strangest art movement of the old master era. And the most exciting. It challenged the rules and produced art that amazes you. Squeezed between two great eras of art – the Renaissance before it, the Baroque age after it – Mannerism has been understood as an in-between moment. But that’s wrong. The ambition of this series is to introduce Mannerism to the world, to tell its story in detail, and to show what great and exciting art it produced. The movement has always been underestimated. We want to change that.

In Film 1 of the series, entitled Goodbye Renaissance, Waldemar Januszczak sets out to position Mannerism in the story of art – when did it happen, what were its characteristics, what did it achieve? Looking back at its origins in Italy, Waldemar focuses on the huge impact of Michelangelo, not only in painting and sculpture, but also in architecture. Also important is the art of Northern Europe which brought new ambitions to Italian art.

In Film 2 of the series, entitled The Crazy Age, we see the revolutionary impact of Mannerism as it spread around Italy. In Mantua, Giulio Romano paints extraordinary visions of the Giants attacking the Gods. In Bomarzo, the wild inventions of the Mannerist garden find their most spectacular form. Also important is the emergence for the first time in Western art of women artists. Properzia di Rossi, Lavinia Fontana, Sofonisba Anguissola bring a new voice to art.

Film 3 of the series, entitled The Great Escape, celebrates the spread of Mannerism across Europe. The Sack of Rome in 1527 forced many Italian artists to flee aboard, taking the revolutionary new art movement with them. In France, at Fontainebleau, Rosso Fiorentino pushed the decorative arts in a new direction. In Prague, Arcimboldo invented a wild new style of portrait painting. In Spain, El Greco produced some of the most extraordinary and distinctive art ever painted.