The Lives of the Artists

Ranked #3 in Art History, Ranked #22 in Artsee more rankings.

Packed with facts, attributions, and entertaining anecdotes about his contemporaries, Giorgio Vasari's collection of biographical accounts also presents a highly influential theory of the development of Renaissance art.

Beginning with Cimabue and Giotto, who represent the infancy of art, Vasari considers the period of youthful vigour, shaped by Donatello, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, and Masaccio, before discussing the mature period of perfection, dominated by the titanic figures of Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo.

This specially commissioned translation contains thirty-six of...


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Blake Gopnik With Vasari, we begin thinking that artistic biography might matter. As much as we may want to resist the notion that biography is central to understanding art, it seems as though it is just inevitable – the life of the artist is an inevitable element in considering the art itself, as Vasari realised early on. (Source)

Kenneth Bartlett He invented art history as we know it…..Much of what we know, especially about the personal lives of the artists, comes from Vasari because there are no other sources. He got it from gossip and hearsay. That is how he did much of his research: by asking people who knew them or by asking somebody whose father had worked with them. (Source)

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