Northern Alpine Mannerism
The mannerist style, which emerged in Italy around 1520, was quickly taken up and put into practise by artists north of the Alps.
Although artists there worked in the mannerist style until well into the 17th century, its development in the northern Alpine regions was somewhat more weakly shaped than in Italy. This was also a result of the reformation, which in northern countries, posed a basic question about an existential justification for images.
In the Prague court, King Rudolf II brought together a group of leading Northern Mannerist artists: The sculptor Adriaen de Vries, who had previously worked in Giambologna’s workshop, the painter Hans von Aachen, Bartholomäus Spranger, Joseph Heintz the Elder, and Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
Most famous are Arcimboldo’s (c.1527-93) unusual portraits, which were constructed from flowers, vegetables and fruit. Bartholomäus Spranger’s (1546-1611) works, had a decided impact on the whole epoch and inspired, amongst others, Hendrick Goltzius to create countless engravings of them. Spranger also influenced the most important Dutch representative of mannerism, Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem (1562-1638). In England, Nicolas Hilliard (1547-1619) executed delicate miniatures and figures with elongated limbs. Mannerism remained the preferred court style in Northern Europe until 1620, when it was replaced by the Baroque.