THE kinds of painting which are commonly grouped together under the term 'Mannerism' are far from being uniform. Different parts of Italy, being at different stages of development and affected in different ways by the political disasters of the sixteenth century, produced styles as varied as those which they evolved in the early Renaissance. In Michelangelo's later work we saw the tragic mystical form of Mannerism; Vasari represents the aristocratic version of the style suited to the court of the Medici. In this section we shall consider the official style of religious art, which came into existence under the influence of Rome and Trent, and the theories which accompanied it. The various forms of Mannerism differ in many ways among themselves, but, compared with the art of the High Renaissance, they have much in common with each other; for they were all produced against the common background of the political and religious reaction which the alliance of the Papacy with Spain made possible after 1530. It will therefore be necessary before going further to consider this historical situation out of which Mannerism arose.
Paradoxically, the ultimate results of the events centring round the Sack of Rome was to strengthen rather than to weaken the power of the Papacy in Italy. Clement, almost more frightened by the revolution in Florence than by the Sack itself, realized that resistance to Charles was useless, and that his only hope lay in an alliance with Spain. The old foundations on which Italian greatness was built were gone. The great merchant republics, like Florence and Venice, had been doomed since the fall of Constantinople and the discovery