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.