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Comparison Of Renaissance And Mannerism Cultural Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 1344 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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I chose to work on the comparison between Renaissance and Mannerism. Renaissance and Mannerism differ to certain extremes, buy still I found that even today there are particular methods of these art movements that are recognized and applied. Here I shall discuss the pros and cons of both art movements, the impact of the movements and my views on this.


In this movement the art form characteristics held an expression of liveliness. Like in wood, clay, stone, independent of reality.

For example Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawing called “Renaissance Man”. It is also known as Vitruvian man. This drawing is known to be the proportions of man or canon of proportions. His piece of art showed how science and art was brought together to calculate proportions.

“Leonardo envisaged the great picture chart of the human body

he had produced through his anatomical drawings and Vitruvian

Man as a cosmografia del minor mondo (cosmography of the

microcosm). He believed the workings of the human body to be

an analogy for the workings of the universe.”

– Encyclopaedia Britannica online

The drawing is based on male proportions that are correlations of ideal human proportions with geometry described.

During this period there was the return of ancient Greek and Roman antique. One such example was seen in Brunelleschi’s architectural work. He had constructed the “Florentine Cathedral”. This particular work originated from the Roman Empire. The foundation of his design was of the dome of the Pantheon. He constructed an elliptical dome.

Artists became familiar with ancient art and brought that in their paintings.

All their art form like sculptures and paintings were proportional. These art forms have particular measurements and are always calculated before painted or made. This is an important feature of this period that takes effect even today. Like Michaelangelo’s sculpture called “David”.

Perspective is another important term that was brought up during this movement. The great Renaissance artist Brunelleschi had brought up this term. Brunelleschi constructed a church called the “Florence Cathedral”. This initiated perspective as it is seen in the architectural composition of its planning. This later inspired Leonardo Da Vinci in his painting called “Last Supper”. In this painting we can see that the elements are arranged according to one point perspective.

Andrea Mantegna paintings demonstrated a certain sympathy for low castes like in his painting called “Triumph of Caesar” where he head illustrated prisoners of lower classes.


Proportions are not that appealing, since in reality every human doesn’t pertain such exact proportions. The Mannerists were against this feature.

Some paintings evoke devotion like the Venetian paintings.


The Mannerists represented a particular style or manner in their paintings. Like elongated hands, small head, etc. This can be seen in Jacopo Pontormo’s Painting called “The Deposition from the Cross”. In this painting the bodies of the women and the man are elongated. Their hands and feet also seem to be slightly longer than a proportionate body. The head is comparatively small than the body. This painting clearly depicts the anticlassical art form.

Early Mannerism consisted of more natural paintings. Such paintings were known as anticlassical paintings i.e. against Renaissance art. For example Ross Florentino’s painting known as “Moses defending the daughters of Jethro” depicts the anticlassical art.

Even in this painting the construction of the body structure can be clearly seen. The long legs and a small head, etc is seen. Similarly many other painting in this period portrays anticlassical art in a variety of ways.

Paintings were usually oil painted or frescoes like the painting done by Jacopo Pontormo known as “Annunciation”.

The Angel Gabriel and Virgin Mary are placed against white walls the environment seems stark. The contrast between the figures and ground makes their garments glow in the light of the window between them. It seems as if the couple came in from the extension of the chapel wall.


Higher Manneria was the next stage of the Mannerists that concentrated mostly on an artist’s virtuosity. The paintings were mostly related to the artist’s point of view rather than reality.

Manneria paintings later progressed to be far away from their goal than reality. This was against Manneria art.


The Renaissance movement was highly influential even during its time. It spread through various places like Italy, Germany, Netherland, France, England, Spain and rest of Northern Europe. Many Italian artists, etc contributed towards the Renaissance period in their own particular ways.

Even today Renaissance exists as it has contributed towards the development of perspective and proportions. Architects or any other fields acquire these basics to bring a perfect or ideal output. Like one point, two point and three point perspective. It’s not just perspective but even proportions have initiated of a man, woman, objects and relating proportions in a scenery such that they look uniform rather than abrupt.

Mannerism movement also has achieved to look at thing normally rather than calculating things out. It’s not scientific based and is purely based on perception of the artist of reality.

Observation is an important term for mannerists. This movement related to Renaissance is not that contributive towards the present but still it has its own plus points.


Relating all factors with respect to Renaissance and Mannerism, I found a couple of facts that I like in Renaissance as well as Mannerism. I can’t really judge which one is better but I must say that Renaissance has been highly influential rather than the other movement. Many top notch artists are remembered even today for their tremendous contribution like Brunelleschi, Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Titian and Michaelangelo. Some artists concentrated mostly on sculptures like Michaelangelo. His sculpture called “David” is known even today. Leonardo concentrated on painting where he even acquired perspective in his paintings like “Last Supper”.

I feel that Renaissance concentrated on measuring each and every thing rather than relying on your own instincts. This difference I found in Mannerism. Proportions are important but I felt that there must be some personal output too based on our personal instinct.


After researching on Renaissance and Mannerism as well as the artists and their works I was able to relate and understand how the view changes as in different periods. Like cubism – fauvism, impressionism – post impressionism and so on. Many movements have their particular principles and differences. From concentrating on emotions developed from color, subconscious and so on. The art movements didn’t just focus in one point throughout the movement. They changes can be seen in Renaissance like high renaissance and Mannerism as early mannerism, etc. All in all it is important to know and compare the past views of tremendous art movements. Mainly how the thought process changes from one point of view to another. The development of an artistic mind is observed not only with help of paintings but even sculptures, relief sculptures, collages, etc are developments from a variety of movements. These movements are even applied in furniture’s, posters, etc.


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