The Easel

20th February 2024

Meet the Mannerists — a forgotten movement that gave us wild, sexy art

The Renaissance represented the triumph of reason. But Michelangelo, for one, has such “pictorial energy” that he started forgetting Renaissance good manners – think sexy angels and bright colours on the Sistene ceiling. His Mannerist followers explored zingy colours and distorted perspective, producing great, psychologically intense portraiture. Mannerism faded by 1590, when Europe’s monarchs decided they wanted flattery in their portraits, not therapy. Its legacy was the makings of baroque excitableness.