Lives of the Artists : a Selection, Paperback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


In his "Lives of the Artists of the Italian Renaissance", Vasari demonstrated a literary talent that outshone even his outstanding abilities as a painter and architect.

Through character sketches and anecdotes he depicts Piero di Cosimo shut away in his derelict house, living only to paint; Giulio Romano's startling painting of Jove striking down the giants; and his friend Francesco Salviati, whose biography also tells us much about Vasari's own early career.

Vasari's original and soaring vision plus his acute aesthetic judgments have made him one of the most influential art historians of all time.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages, bibliography
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Painting & paintings
  • ISBN: 9780140444605



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The second volume of Vasari's biographical survey doesn't have nearly as many of the heavy hitters, which only goes to stress just how much time goes towards his own self-mythologising. If you didn't know any better you'd be forgiven for assuming Vasari was one of the principle geniuses of the Renaissance, making an appearance here to properly identify a misattributed painting, there to fix another architect's bungled work. The life of Salviati (one of his personal friends) at times descends into an Alice Toklas level sham-biography, leaving Salviati hanging to spend time talking about what his selfless and faithful friend Vasari had been up to. <br/><br/>Even more unfortunate is his condescending attitude to the masters if they happen to have been born slightly too early; for one, Luca della Robbia, one of the principal sculptural geniuses of the Renaissance, has his work largely dismissed as crude and old-fashioned. <br/><br/>Definitely the best volume for analysing Vasari himself, but doesn't hold a candle to the earlier work in terms of general interest or art-historical value.