Lives of the Artists

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Penguin Books Limited, 1987 - Art - 480 pages
75 Reviews
Giorgio Vasari (1511-74) was an accomplished painter and architect, but it is for his illuminating biographies that he is best remembered. Beginning with Cimabue and Giotto in the thirteenth century, he traces the development of Italian art across three centuries to the golden epoch of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Great men, and their immortal works, are brought vividly to life, as Vasari depicts the young Giotto scratching his first drawings on stone; Donatello gazing at Brunelleschi's crucifix; and Michelangelo's painstaking work on the Sistine Chapel, harassed by the impatient Pope Julius II. The Lives also convey much about Vasari himself and his outstanding abilities as a critic inspired by his passion for art.

George Bull's introduction discusses Vasari's life and influences, and the political and historical background of sixteenth-century Florence. This volume also includes notes on the artists by Peter Murray and a list for further reading.

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Review: The Lives of the Artists

User Review  - Scott Hastie - Goodreads

Its topic the fire of true ambition and timeless achievement Read full review

Review: The Lives of the Artists

User Review  - Scott Hastie - Goodreads

Its topic the fire of true ambition and timeless achievement Read full review

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About the author (1987)

Giorgio Vasari was born in 1511 at Arezzo in Tuscany. While still a boy he was introduced to Cardinal Silvio Passerini who put him to study in Florence with Michelangelo - who later became a close friend - then with Andrea del Sarto. He left Florence when his patron, Duke Alessandro, was assassinated, and wandered round Italy filling his notebooks with sketches; it was during this period that he conceived the idea of the Lives. By now, in his thirties, Vasari was a highly successful painter and when his Lives were published they were received enthusiastically.

He returned to Florence in 1555 to serve Duke Cosimo who appointed him architect of the Palazzo Vecchio. After a grand tour of Italian towns he published the revised and enlarged edition of his Lives in 1568. Vasari spent the rest of his life in a glow of self- satisfaction and public recognition, and in 1971 he was knighted by Pope Pius V. He died in 1574.

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