Mannerism Goes South
Whilst Sydney Freedberg’s Painting in Italy purports to be a survey of artistic phenomena during the sixteenth century, it is at heart an analysis of the origin, growth and diffusion of the artistic movement known as mannerism. Freedberg creates a category called “Post-Classical Experiment and the First Maniera” which occurs in central Italy between 1520-1535. Maniera as explained by John Shearman is an Italian word that means style, though the subject is more complex than that. Much of mannerist art was born in central Italy, particularly Florence and Rome with artists such as Pontormo, Rosso, Lotto and Bronzino. With the death of Raphael in 1520 in Rome and the absence of Michelangelo who had returned to Florence, the way was clear for an adventurous group of artists who would launch the first stage of mannerism. Though artists or their work would not make much impression on southern Italian art, their presence was still felt as is proved by a visit to the Capodimonte in Naples where one will find works by Polidoro, as well as examples of art by Vasari (above) who lived and worked in Naples for about a year.
 Freedberg, Painting in Italy, 175-263.
 John Shearman, Mannerism, (Pelican, 1967), 16-17.