Guilty Pleasures

Parmigianino was certainly a Mannerist. Art Historians have linked Mannerism to the 1527 "Sack of Rome". Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor was at war with the Pope, Clement VII. Despite being ordered not to storm the city, the unpaid troops of Charles broke into the city and began looting, killing, and holding citizens for ransom. This resulted in a sense of shock among the citizens of Rome... including the artists not unlike that felt by many following the horrors of WWI which resulted in Dada and other Modernist rejections of the art prior. Mannerism involved a conscious rejection of the standards of High Renaissance Art: symmetry, balance, naturalism, clarity of space, etc... Arguably, Michelangelo's works pointed the way toward Mannerism:



His Medici Tomb dates from 1520-1534. Before 1527, his focus was primarily on the architectural structures of the tomb. Following the sack of Rome in 1527 he shifted his focus to the expressively distorted figures of the tomb.

His figures from the Last Judgment continue to explore such expressive exaggeration.



Even his frescoes on the Sistine Ceiling (completed in 1512) point to Mannerism with his use of "shock color" employing compliments in the shadows (red/green, yellow/purple).


One of the most outrageously comic early Mannerist paintings was that of St. George & the Dragon by Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, known as Il Sodoma.


I can't help think of Monty Python's "killer rabbit" when looking at the pathetic writhing dragon confronted by St. George's candy cane lance and his vicious horse. St. Margaret swoons melodramatically, As pathetic as the dragon seems in this battle, the ground is strewn with arms, feet, and heads.
Hey, St. Luke, if you say Michelangelo pointed toward Mannerism, then didn't Botticelli? What's your opinion on that?
Arty; I suppose that is possible. He did have a number of frescoes in the Sistine where subsequent artists may have seen them. But beyond the elongated anatomy of a good number of his paintings, I don't see anything else suggestive of Mannerism.




Like the majority of Renaissance painters, Botticelli employed correct linear perspective, clarity of space, and the use of geometry/symmetry in the compositions. The themes or subject matter are based on Greco/Roman narratives that are clearly illustrated... nothing confusing or bizarre as you might find with Bronzino...


Botticelli makes no use of shock color, but rather frequently employs the common triad of primary colors... red, yellow, and blue... albeit somewhat muted toward a "baby blue" and rose.

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Earlier paintings such as the frescoes in the Sistine exhibit a greater degree of naturalism in terms of anatomy... quite similar to that of his teacher, Fra Filippo Lippi. His later paintings employ increasingly elongated figures emphasizing the graceful flow of line. It has been suggested that this was a conscious move away from the anatomy of Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo toward something more suggestive of the Gothic/International Gothic.

Perhaps this was a return to the style of the earlier Renaissance Art on which he was raised (Fra Filippo Lippi, Fra Angelico). Maybe he was aiming toward something more ethereal and dream-like as opposed to the more earth-bound figures of the High Renaissance.

Honestly, I find the German painters, Lucas Cranach and Hans Baldung Grien to be even more Mannerist stylistically...

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... but they may have had limited exposure to classical Greco-Roman Art and I've read nothing of their coming into contact with the Renaissance Italian artists. Their work is rooted in many ways in the doll-like figures of Rogier van der Weyden, Hugo van der Goes, and other artists of the Northern Renaissance.

I suspect the question of Botticelli's impact on Mannerism is a question worthy of research by Art Historians.
We have such different guilty pleasures, but maybe it gets a little closer when it comes to Bat Woman. I'm a Wonder Woman fan myself.

Arty, have you come across Yara Flor AKA Wonder Girl, the Brazillian Wonder Woman? The comic was largely written and illustrated by Joëlle Jones and strikes me as quite visually striking.




She is striking. Glad they gave her a little meat on the rump, being Brazilian. Not much, but some. The show, Wonder Woman came at a time when there was nothing around for women really, so I liked it. There was another show called Isis. Or, maybe it wasn't called Isis, but that was the superhero's name. She channeled ancient Egyptian powers by twirling around or spinning in place, as I remember. Or maybe I get that mixed up with Wonder Woman? She wore all white and had a cool crown on her head, but of course, she didn't look Egyptian. She was white. However, she was a scientist in her "secret" mortal life, which I loved.
A lot of my "guilty" pleasures are watching dumb TV shows. I tend to like true crime, but they have to be very specific, like documentary types, not reenactments. And I absolutely hate it when it's an unsolved crime or a conspiracy. The investigation has to be resolved by making an arrest in real life, ideally with a trial in the end where we get to see the defense's case. After the First 48 is pretty good. I think I've seen all of those. I also like reruns of all the Twilight Zones. I can watch those on repeat forever. I like I love Lucy, too. Lately, I've been re-watching You're the Worst, which has pretty great writing. I've been sick, so lots of TV this last week. I just watched The Dark Side of Comedy series. That was okay.

I look through a ton of art books, play crossword puzzles, try to get people to place Scrabble with me (but no one wants to because I like to win). I'm overall a boring geek and a square. My "guilty" pleasures are nothing to feel guilty about. I wish I had some hidden, dark fetish, but I just don't. I like pretty dark movies, like catastrophes, but not in the way you'd think. It has to be psychological. Kinda a slow, depressing burn with a sprinkle of comedy--comedy no one finds funny. Think directors Michael Haneke or Todd Solondz. And now I favor Jonathan Glazer for Zone of Interest and a couple of other things I've seen of his.
Comic book superheroes inspired my first thoughts of wanting to be an artist... although I had long loved the illustrations in the books I read as a child, and my mother had always supported my interest in art. I tended to follow the Marvel Comics more than DC. Superman, especially, left me cold. I disliked the "Rah! Rah!" All-American character who was essentially impervious to anything except for Kryptonite. The Marvel characters were almost all flawed. My favorites among them were Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America, the Fantastic Four, Hulk... and later the Ghost Rider. Comics led me to my love of drawing the human figure... almost all male figures initially. There were a few female comic characters that I liked including Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Cat Woman, Veronica & Betty, and the female characters in MAD Magazine... but honestly, I was first really inspired to draw women after seriously exploring art history and coming upon artists such as Titian, Rubens, Bernini, Boucher, Rodin, Degas, Mucha, Klimt, Schiele, etc...
I always liked the Hernandez Brothers' drawings of female bodies, but I was never able to do it. I also wasn't much interested in figurative art at first. I was originally inspired by the abstract artists around the turn of the century. I did start to love Maxfield Parish at around 13 years old when I got a full-color book of his work from an older friend of mine. She was a hippie and also had a lot of art posters of his work all over her apartment, mostly his magazine covers from Harpers and such. I did try to start drawing more figures at that point because I got interested in him. There were usually landscapes behind the figures and he was masterful with light and layering in a way I'd never seen before, so I studied his work very closely for a long time.
If you are seeking a thicker, meatier figure among comic illustrators there is always R. Crumb who was fixated on big legged Amazons...


And then there's Frank Cho, who jokes about his propensity for bigger girls as being the result of Spiderman's Aunt May's Wheat Cakes:


Of course... there's always Rubens...

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... Maillol...


... and Anders Zorn among others.

I don't know if he quite counts as a "guilty pleasure"... but many might dismiss him a a "mere" illustrator. I am speaking here of Alphonse Mucha.


Mucha was almost certainly the most influential and most popular artist of the fin de siecle (the late 19th/early 20th century). He made his reputation almost exclusively from his poster designs:


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Mucha's posters were mass-produced and posted all over Paris at the time... and were so admired that they were continually stolen.
His style influenced artists, illustrators, and advertisers throughout Europe, the USA, and beyond. Many posters from the 1960s were rooted in Mucha's work...


His work continues to influence comic book artists and illustrators today. Admittedly, my own work is indebted to Mucha, among other artists.