Sack of Rome (1527): the Triumph of Mannerism in Europe

Benvenuto Cellini, Christ supporting Saint Peter above the waves, inscription “Quare dubitasti?” (“Why did you doubt?”), 1530-1532, silver double carlin of Clement VII.

The political accident that was the sack of Rome is a major landmark in the artistic history of Europe. Contemporaries insisted on its Protestant iconoclasm, which notably jeopardized the relics and sacred images of the Holy City, home of the Holy See and destination of pilgrimages. The sack dispersed the successors to Raphael along with the other actors of the first generation of Mannerists, thereby bringing about the immediate diffusion of the first Roman—as well as Florentine—manner, initially towards the main courts of Italy (1527 and 1528) and later to those of France (Fontainebleau) and ultimately Europe.