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Antwerp Mannerists. Group of Antwerp painters of the early 16th c. whose work is characterized by Italianate ornamentation and affected attitudes. Unconnected with later Mannerism.


Antwerp Mannerism is the name given to the style of a largely anonymous group of painters from Antwerp in the beginning of the 16th century. The style bore no direct relation to Renaissance or Italian Mannerism, but the name suggests a peculiarity that was a reaction to the "classic" style of the earlier Flemish painters. Although attempts have been made to identify the individual artists, most of the paintings remain attributed to anonymous masters. Characteristic of Antwerp Mannerism are works attributed to Jan de Beer, those of the Master of 1518 (possibly Jan Mertens or Jan van Dornicke), and some early paintings of Jan Gossaert and Adriaen Isenbrandt. The paintings combine Early Netherlandish and Northern Renaissance styles, and incorporate both Flemish and Italian traditions into the same compositions. Practitioners of the style frequently painted subjects such as the Adoration of the Magi and the Nativity, both of which are generally represented as night scenes, crowded with figures and dramatically illuminated. The Adoration scenes were especially popular with the Antwerp Mannerists, who delighted in the patterns of the elaborate clothes worn by the Magi and the ornamentation of the architectural ruins in which the scene was set.


Jan Gossaert
The Adoration of the Kings

Oil on wood, 177 x 161 cm
National Gallery, London



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