The Late Renaissance
people, terms, and concepts: Savonarola, the Bonfire of the Vanities, Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformation, Mannerism
How does Late Renaissance or ‘Mannerist’ art seem to reject a lot of the qualities that earlier Renaissance and High Renaissance artists fought so hard to achieve, such as naturalism, harmony, and narrative clarity?
• How did early art historians account for these odd qualities? Why do art historians today reject this explanation?
• How do the odd qualities of Late Renaissance art seem to express the political, social, and religious instability and angst of the period?
• What was the Protestant Reformation? How did the Reformation lead to religious, political, social, and economic upheaval, and general spiritual angst, all across Europe?
Michelangelo, The Last Judgment, Italian Mannerism, 1536-41
What is the subject of this work, and how does Michelangelo interpret that subject? How has his assessment of human nature and human potential changed since painting the Sistine Ceiling? How has his depiction of the human body changed from the serene idealization of his David and Adam? How might this relate to the religious context of the time?
Parmigianino, Madonna with the Long Neck, Italian Mannerism, 1534-1540
What is odd about this work (more than just the long neck)? How has Parmigianino rejected the earlier Renaissance emphasis on naturalism and compositional and narrative clarity?
Pontormo, The Entombment, Italian Mannerism, 1525-28
What is odd about this work? How has Pontormo rejected the earlier Renaissance emphasis on naturalism and compositional and narrative clarity? What kind of expressive mood does the work convey, and how might that mood relate to its historical context?