Worshiping the cross with a bronze snake (fresco) by Agnolo Bronzino

Worshiping the cross with a bronze snake (fresco) by Agnolo Bronzino

Angelo Bronzino “Adoration of the cross with a bronze snake”. Fresco of the Eleonora of Toledo Chapel in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, wall at the entrance, size 320 x 385 cm, detail. After 1540, Bronzino performed frescoes in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, one of them “Adoration of the cross with a bronze snake”.

If in his portraits Bronzino appears as a significant painter, the multi-figure compositions of the artist particularly clearly reveal the increasing degradation of Mannerism: deliberate unnaturalness and mannerisms of poses, sugary beauty of images, abstract ornamentality

of composition, plaque of rationality and cold eroticism.

The aesthetic ideal of mature Mannerism becomes completely divorced from reality, differing in abstractness and lifelessness. It is not by chance that the theorists of Mannerism often replace the concept of “idea” with the notion of “fine manners,” that is, the totality of certain formal stylistic devices. Similarly, one of the main advantages of a work of art is now invenzione, that is, the ability to “compose” a complex and effective composition.

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