Developing out of the Renaissance, and inspired by the late works of Michelangelo, a group of painters, rejected balance and harmony favored by Renaissance artists such as Raphael and DaVinci in favor of emotional intensity and ambiguity. These so-called Mannerist painters used severe distortions of perspective and scale; complex and crowded compositions; strong, sometimes harsh or discordant colors; and elongated figures in exaggerated poses. In many ways, Mannerism became the fore-runner of the Baroque style.

Bronzino was the best portrayer of the frozen, rigid etiquette of the Grand Duke's court in Florence. His career is interwoven with the history of Mannerism. on which he left his own mark. As the official painter of the Grand Duchy and of a small circle of cultured aristocrats, Bronzino developed his own style, quite distinct from that of the early Renaissance In addition to an almost maniacal insistence on accurate drawing, Bronzino added his own very personal use of color which he applied in a clear and compact fashion that almost gave the effect of varnish.

By 1540 Bronzino was the darling of the Medici court and Florentine aristocracy, not least thanks to his literary talents, for he was also poet. He alternated his production of smooth, almost crystalline portraits, with noteworthy decorative schemes, such as the frescos in the Medici villas, and from 1560 onward, he produced numerous religious paintings for altars in the major Florentine churches.

 For information on individual works, and enlargement of picture, click on thumbnail.

 Cosimo de Medici (1545)
 Eleanor de Medici with Son (1546)
 Young Man (1540)
 Ludovico Capponi (1555)

 Martyrdom of St. Lawrence (1550)
 Panciatichi Madonna (1540)
 Adoration of the Shepherds (1538)
 Noli me tangere! (1561)

 Pieta (1546)
 St.John the Baptist (1555)
 Deposition from the Cross (1565)
 Holy Family with St.Elizabeth (1528)

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