chapter  X
12 Pages

Precursors of Modern Art

The deeper relationship between Mannerism and modern art lies in their sense of the nearness of death and in the divorce that appears in it between man and nature. There are certain historical connections between Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel and the Mannerists, those three anticipators of modern art—anticipators in so far as they set the precedent for the appearance in art of Hell, of man become alien to his true nature and of death. In Bruegel's work there appears another dominant theme of modern art, the depreciation of man. But the Kingdom of Hell seizes upon even Paradise and creates a demoniac caricature in the Paradisus Voluptatis. When Mannerism is spoken of as anti-classical, it must be borne in mind that it cleaves to the whole formal apparatus of classical art; it is only the spirit that dominates it that is different.