Mannerism and the Human Form - Cristobal Alvarez Zelada

Let's take a look at the way Mannerism represents the human form. We will look at how humans are posed in mannerism as well as the way their facial expressions are portrayed.

In this oil on canvas painting, we see El Greco's portrayal of the demise of Laocoön. The way the bodies are posed are somewhat challenging, which is something El Greco was known for. We see that shading was used extensively to give the bodies muscular detail. The facial expressions are kind of peaceful considering the struggle we see... Laocoön's facial expression can be described as frightened but not to a great degree.
We see Jesus portrayed with a elongated, slender body that Mannerism and El Greco are known for. The use of lines and shading has been used on the subject's body. The facial expression can be considered as eerily calm or resigned. The dark background makes a big contrast with the subject's pale skin tone.
This painting shows Mary Magdalene reading scripture, and meditating on mortality. The skull in this painting symbolizes mortality, so Mary Magdalene is reflecting on this. The subject's pose is quite natural compared to other works by El Greco, but the facial expression is again very calm in this piece. The colors used are also in line with El Greco's other works, especially the subject's skin tone. Light texturing has been used for the subject's hair for a more realistic look.
The Fall of Titans by Cornelis van Haarlem depicts the fantastic battle of the Gods against the Titans. Contrary to El Greco's slender portrayals of the human body, van Haarlem depicted the Gods and the Titans as having more masculine, muscular bodies. While this piece was made in the age of Mannerism, I see it as a predictor of things to come with the Baroque style of Art. The facial expressions are, at least in my opinion, more expressive than El Greco's portrayal of faces. The faces look bewildered and give a look of indignation.
St. John the Baptist by Agnolo Bronzino, this painting is a very graceful example of Mannerism. I see a realistically painted human body posed in an unusual way. By unusual I mean posed in a way that humans don't typically pose. Mannerism is known for portraying the human body in unlikely positions, perhaps because they add a level of challenge for artists to show off their technique. The facial expression of this painting is very serene, as is common in Mannerism.
The falling of the Manna by Agnolo Bronzino is another Mannerist painting that uses unnatural poses to showcase the Artist's skills. I wonder if there was a model who had to stand like that for long periods of time for this painting. The use of lines and shading was great not only for anatomical details, but also for the folds in clothing. And again we see how hair is given texture to look more realistic.
Venus Disarming Cupid by Parmigianino is a very interesting drawing. It looks like a woodcut, and indeed this may have been the intended purpose, because Parmigianino was working with a woodcutter at the time, so it is speculated that this drawing might have originally been made as a blueprint for woodcuts. Venus is depicted in a typical Mannerist pose, taking Cupid's bow away. Use of lines and shading basically make up this drawing.
The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian by Joachin Wtewael again portrays complicated poses. Muscle tone is displayed in great detail with shading. I feel like the facial expressions are more natural when compared to works by El Greco. The colors used for skin tone are very realistic, and the colors used for clothes and the scenery make a good contrast.
Another piece by Joachin Wtewael, The battle between the Gods and the Giants. We see a very dynamic scene being played out. I also see this piece as a proto-baroque type piece because the posing of the characters has purpose, at least in the context of this piece, which is a battle.
This piece by El Greco depicts Jesus making a "blessing" sign with his right hand and holding the world on his left hand. He is blessing the World. El greco showed great detail in the folds of Jesus' clothes, as well as the texture of his hair and beard, which is brown but has small blonde hairs throughout if you look clothes enough. The colors used work well to give the painting a feeling of completeness.
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