Mannerist artists reacted against the strict naturalism of the Renaissance, revelling in the capacity to push illusionism beyond the limits of logic and reason. Impossibly elongated and exaggerated forms typified the new style as spatial relationships were deliberately disrupted to disturb and unsettle the eye. Luca Cambiaso’s overly muscled Hercules is a typically bold and imaginative rendering of a god. As the sixteenth century progressed, artists used their unfettered imaginations to induce physical and emotional responses from the viewer. Spectacle and sensation had left realism in their wake.
Melbourne Winter Masterpieces, Italian Masterpieces from Spain's Royal Court Museo del Prado, Madrid