press release

The Chazen Museum of Art is pleased to present an exhibition of mannerist works, mostly engravings, drawn primarily from its permanent collection.

During the fifteenth-century Renaissance, classical antiquity was big news. Artists followed discoveries of Greek and Roman sculpture and visited Rome to see the great antiquities collections, copying and perfecting the techniques and subject matter of the classical models. However, mannerist artists in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italy and the Netherlands intentionally went against those classical ideals of beauty, proportion, and symmetry, moving away from the imitation of nature and toward the creation of a more expressive and spiritually charged style. This anticlassical approach to the human figure is characterized by distortion through elongation, torsion, exaggerated musculature, and irrational spatial relationships. Michelangelo’s muscular figures on the Sistine Chapel exemplify the Renaissance master’s early influence on the development of mannerism, also called the stylish style.

In Italy, artists including Giovanni Battista Scultori and his Manutan workshop helped to champion this new approach. In the north, especially in the Dutch city of Haarlem, mannerism flourished in the late sixteenth century when a group of artists in the circle of Hendrick Goltzius took the style in a slightly different direction from their Italian counterparts. Also inspired by classical Italian sources, Goltzius and his collaborator Bartolomeus Spranger, and eventually a larger group of artists, cooperated to design strikingly original works. Their novel compositions and distinctive style influenced graphic art, in particular, for centuries; the portraiture seen on most paper money descended directly from the work of these mannerist artists.

Generous support for this exhibition has been provided by the Chazen Museum of Art Council, Hilldale Fund, and Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Mannerism in Italy and the Low Countries

Künstler: Giovanni Battista Scultori, Hendrick Goltzius, Bartholomäus Spranger ...