28 October 2010

High Renaissance vs Mannerism

While looking at the Renaissance and Mannerism artwork, I can definitely notice some differences. In the High Renaissance, the artwork was highly praised for its naturalism and was very balanced and harmonious. The artists of this time period, worked very hard to make everything appear very natural, the way it would be found in the everyday world. Michelangelo even used optics for the big hands to appear a normal size in his work of David. He tried to represent every little detail and be anatomically correct, especially when the sculptures or paintings had people in odd positions. Mannerism art seems to focus more on emotions and the artistic effect rather than naturalism. The artists deliberately painted distorted positions in irrational spaces, sometimes the forms were elongated or even looked contorted. The anatomy was definitely not up to Michelangelo’s par. Whereas he was anatomically correct down to every last muscle, they used very abnormal anatomy. Mannerism also seems to use clashing colors.

Parmigianino’s Madonna of the Long Neck really represents these interpretations. She has a neck that is so elongated and unrealistic to the natural body. Mary herself is huge, she is almost twice the size of the angels to her right. The baby, Jesus, is also quite large. If you look closely, and attempted to stand him up, he would be about half the size of Mary! He also is an a very awkward position on her lap, and appears as if he could fall at any moment. The colors all appear to be very dark, with much less background.

Mannerism art seems to be exaggerating the realistic view of humans, but in my opinion, Michelangelo’s later Renaissance works seem to exaggerate real human bodies in his own way. He maintains correct anatomy, but takes it to the extreme. He makes the men’s muscles too big and bulky, and even makes the girl appear to have masculine muscles as well, which was probably not the case with the women of that age.

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