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When most of us think of Renaissance art, the two names that come to mind first are Michelangelo Buonarroti and Leonardo da Vinci. What most of us do not know is that Jacopo da Pontormo, called "Pontormo" and Rosso Fiorentino known as "Rosso" were just as well known as their famous counterparts. Pontormo was in fact the favorite court painter of the Medici family, and Rosso was a close ally and friend of Savonarola.
Although all four painters were born during the same period, the later part of the 15th century, their artistic styles followed quite divergent paths. A new show at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Divergenti vie della "maniera" continuing until July 20th, highlights the distinctive works of Pontormo and Fiorentino, their use of clashing colors and bizarre themes based on esoteric and cabalistic literature popular at the time. We all know something about the Renaissance, but many of us know too little about this fascinating counter movement, known as Mannerism.