“Mannerism: Style of art and architecture that emerged in the period from ca. 1520 to ca. 1590, characterized by a reaction to harmony of the High Renaissance, an ideal of virtuosity for its own sake, and a concomitant preoccupation with the ambiguous and discordant. Exemplified in the works of El Greco, Pontormo, Parmigianino, and (late) Michelangelo.”
Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.