Mannerism and Baroque Art ~ The Main Difference

Nov 20, 2023
Why is Difference Between Mannerism and Baroque Art

Mannerism and Baroque Art: Early Europe was home to numerous artistic styles like Baroque Art and Mannerism, according to art historians. They each have specific rules regarding texture, paint color, composition, ideas, and perspective that define them.


Occupy This term derives from the Italian word maniera which translates to “style” or “manner.” Many began to recognize Mannerism as a style label. Swiss historian Jacob Burkhardt popularized this term. German art historians made Mannerism famous in the early 20th century by classifying 16th-century art from Italy that doesn’t exhibit rational, harmonious or logical characteristics found within High Renaissance artworks into this category.

Examples of Mannerist Art

Mannerist Art
Figure-no-01: Mannerist Art

Here are three examples:

  • Madonna with Long Neck by Parmigianino was completed in 1530 and is known for its unusual perspective, elongated figures, and distortion of figure features – in particular an unnaturally long neck on Madonna that makes her appear like Baby Jesus is falling off of her lap! Furthermore, this painting boasts unusual colors and detailed craftsmanship, which are hallmarks of Mannerist art.
  • Bronzino’s Allegory Venus and Cupid – Created during the mid-1540s, this complex allegory depicts Venus, Cupid, and other characters as part of an allegory depicting Mannerist Art. Compositionally stylized poses exaggerated poses are used while characters extend beyond them for added stylization. An ornate and highly detailed painting, it serves as an excellent example.
  • El Greco’s View of Toledo from the 1590s is widely recognized for its dramatic and emotive style, depicting Toledo with exaggerated perspective, swirling clouds, vibrant colors, and dynamic composition; qualities characteristic of Mannerist Art.

Characteristics of Mannerism Art

Mannerism Art
Figure-no-02: Mannerism Art

Here are some key characteristics of Mannerism art:

  • Mannerist Art often features exaggerated proportions or distorted perspectives to create an unsettling or surreal effect, producing an uncomfortable or strange sense.
  • Elongation of Figures. Mannerist paintings often feature figures with stretched or elongated figures, giving them an uncanny appearance.
  • Exaggerated and dramatic poses – In Mannerist paintings, figures often adopt dramatic or overextended poses to express feelings of tension or emotion.
  • Mannerists frequently used artificial colors that did not exist naturally, creating the effect of artificiality.
  • Mannerist paintings often showcase complex and intricate compositions with multiple figures, intricate details, and high levels of complication.
  • Mannerist art explores themes related to doubt, anxiety, and introspection that reflect both intellectual and spiritual climates at that time.
  • Mannerist art can be defined by exaggerated poses, bright colors, and intricate compositions. Originating in late Renaissance Italy, this style emphasizes both inner life as well as human psychology complexity.

Baroque Art

The Oxford Dictionary states that this term derives from Spanish or Portuguese words such as “Barocco,” or “Baroque,” which translate to an imperfect or rough pearl, often used to characterize styles from the 17th and 18th centuries. French translation- pergola barocca means irregular pearl, used to express loud abundance and eccentric redundancy in decoration and artifacts.

Examples of Baroque Art

Gian Lorenzo Bernardini’s The Ecstasy Of Saint Teresa (1652) depicts Saint Teresa in religious ecstasy while an angel shoots an arrow into her heart, creating an emotive piece with flowing draperies and detailed elements.

  • Rembrandt Van Rijn’s 1642 work “The Night Watch,” depicting a group of civic guards, is dynamic and dramatic in composition with figures moving and light and shade contrasting vividly against each other. Realism and attention to detail are hallmarks of Baroque painting.
  • Louis Le Vau and Jules Hardouin Mansart created Versailles Palace as part of King Louis XIV’s 17th-century court complex for him to live in, featuring grand architecture, ornate decorations, dramatic light effects, and dramatic shadowing effects. It is considered a prime example of Baroque Architecture. The Palace itself stands as an excellent example.
  • Baroque art can be defined by grandeur, drama, and emotional intensity. Additionally, its use of chiaroscuro and dynamic movement combined with ornate decorations makes Baroque an all-encompassing style found from sculpture to paintings to architecture. These examples showcase its many different aspects.

Characteristics of Baroque Art

Below are a few key characteristics of Baroque Art:

  • Baroque art boasts a grand, monumental aesthetic and dramatic flair.
  • Baroque artists utilized light (chiaroscuro) in striking contrast between light and darkness to create depth and drama in their works.
  • Baroque art is frequently associated with theatricality and emotional intensity, its figures are depicted with high expressiveness and dynamic compositions.
  • Baroque paintings often feature highly animated figures that move, conveying an atmosphere of energy and movement.
  • Baroque art often incorporates ornate patterns and intricate details, as well as lavish decorative details into its compositions.
  • Religious and Political Themes. Many Baroque pieces were commissioned either by the Catholic Church, or other powerful institutions, often featuring religious or political themes in their compositions.
  • Realistic Representation of Figures – Baroque painters made great efforts to produce more realistic depictions of human figures than were commonly found in Mannerist works, providing an accurate portrayal of humanity.
  • Baroque artists employed foreshortening as an artistic technique to give the illusion of depth by showing objects receding into space.
  • Baroque art can be defined by its grand and dramatic style, often employing chiaroscuro to create highly expressive characters.

Difference Between Mannerism and Baroque Art

Mannerism painting does not center around depictions of humans or figures, but on twisting, bending, and elastic elongation of limbs instead; bizarre but graceful postures; bright palettes are frequently employed and an emphasis is often placed on dramatic and luxurious settings where most action happens. Baroque paintings often depict drama and luxury as well, telling a tale and featuring dramatic settings where most action happens – often at its climax point where most action occurs; allegory or metaphor are employed to add metaphysical qualities to this genre of painting.

Baroque and Mannerism are well-recognized movements from distinct time periods. Historians have spent an immense amount of time studying their respective histories as well as how these styles made an impressionable mark across Europe – and are even still doing so today!


Characteristic Mannerism Baroque
Time period Late Renaissance period (mid-16th century) 17th century
Proportions and perspective Distorted proportions and perspectives Realistic depiction of the human form
Color palette Bold and unusual colors Naturalistic colors and chiaroscuro
Emotional tone Themes of anxiety, doubt, and introspection Grandeur, drama, and emotional intensity
Ornamentation Highly decorative and ornate Subdued decoration
Use of light and shadow Flat, evenly lit surfaces Dramatic use of chiaroscuro (the contrast between light and dark)

What Are The Similarities Between Mannerism and Baroque Art?

Manerism as well as Baroque art have two distinctive styles of art that developed during various periods of art history They do have certain characteristics due to their cultural and historical contexts.

Here are a few commonalities of both Mannerism and Baroque art:

  1. Emotional Expression: Mannerism as well as Baroque art sought to trigger intense emotional reactions from viewers. They typically employed extreme and exaggerated gestures poses, postures, and facial expressions to communicate intense emotions and intense emotions.
  2. Dark Lighting: The two styles employed striking lighting techniques to give a feel of drama and highlight certain aspects of the work. The stark contrasts between shadow and light were used to increase the impact and depth of composition.
  3. Dynamic composition: Mannerism as well as Baroque art often had intricate as well as dynamic designs. They utilized spiraling lines, diagonal lines, and intricately arranged forms to give a sense of motion and vitality to their works.
  4. Elaborate Details: Detail-oriented The two styles were both renowned for their use of intricate and elaborate particulars in their paintings. It was whether it was garments, architectural elements, or the background Mannerism and Baroque artists paid particularly to elaborate ornaments and ornamental elements.
  5. Non-Realistic Color Palette: Although both styles may employ bright colors, they frequently strayed from a strict realist color palette. Mannerism as well as Baroque artists frequently employed extravagant and unorthodox color schemes to create an impression of greater reality or highlight the symbolic and emotional aspects of their subject matter.
  6. Symbolism and Allegory: The two styles often incorporated symbolism and allegorical elements in their work. They utilized symbols and hidden meanings to convey more profound messages or even narratives.
  7. Integration of Architecture: Integrating Architecture Baroque painting, for instance, included sculpture and architecture in the composition of its works, blurring lines between the various artistic forms. This can be evident in a few Mannerist paintings, in which the sculptural and architectural elements interplay with the subjects painted.
  8. Patronage: Patronage Both styles were frequently requested by aristocratic institutions, religious institutions, and powerful patrons who wanted to show the wealth and status of their patrons and their devotion to God through art. This patronage was a major factor in the beauty and drama that characterized Mannerist and Baroque artworks.

However, despite these connections, it’s important to be aware it is important to note that Mannerism along with Baroque art is distinct and evolved in various historical contexts. Mannerism began to emerge in the middle of the Renaissance about the 16th century as an attempt to counterbalance the harmony and balance in High Renaissance art. Baroque art however was born in the late 17th century in response in response to Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation and is distinguished by its emphasis on dynamism, drama, and splendor.


Mannerism is a distinctive style that evolved over several historical periods, sharing some similarities with Baroque while still having significant distinctions. Mannerism art was popular during the late Renaissance period characterized by exaggerated poses and vibrant colors; Baroque emerged later and is often associated with grandeur, drama, and emotional intensity.

Mannerists explored themes like anxiety doubt and introspection while Baroque represented more grandiose moments; both styles are responses to changing cultural and historic environments and depict the diversity of human expression in unique ways that Baroque does.