Minding Our Mannerists

A new exhibition seeks to rescue the reputation of two 16th-century Italian artists, Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino, leaders of the oft-ridiculed, long misunderstood Mannerist movement that proceeded the Renaissance.

FLORENCE – It’s probably one of the most bizarre descriptions in the history of the loaded relations between artist and patron. While the 16th-century artist Rosso Fiorentino was working on an altarpiece commissioned by an important local patron, a meeting between the two ended with the patron bolting out of the artist’s studio in a panic, appalled by what he had seen.