Vasari, Giorgio

   Tuscan painter, architect, and writer, best known for his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, the earliest compendium of biographies of artists. Born in Arezzo, the 16-year-old Vasari was sent by Cardinal Silvio Passerini, who had close ties with the Medici, to Florence to apprentice with Andrea del Sarto alongside Rosso Fiorentino and Jacopo da Pontormo. The cardinal also sponsored the artist's humanist education alongside the young Ippolito and Alessandro de' Medici, who were under his guardianship. Vasari's relationship with the Medici was to sustain his artistic career for the rest of his life.
   Vasari's output as painter is vast as he steadily received commissions from this family as well as the papal court in Rome. In the 1540s he was occupied with the frescoes in the papal Palazzo della Cancellería for Pope Paul III. For the studiolo of Francesco I de' Medici in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Vasari contributed his Perseus and Andromeda (1570-1572) to represent the element of water and relate the story of the formation of coral. Other works by him include the Allegory of the Immaculate Conception (1541) and the Prophet Elijah (c. 1555), both in the Uffizi, Florence. Vasari's greatest accomplishment as architect was the Uffizi (offices) (beg. 1560), a structure commissioned by Cosimo I de' Medici to consolidate the governmental offices under one roof. Vasari also built for him a grotto (1556-1560) in the Boboli Gardens located between the Uf-fizi and the Palazzo Pitti where the Medici resided.
   Though Vasari had a distinguished career as artist, he is most often invoked for the wealth of information he provided in his Lives, first published in 1550. The work is a product of the Renaissance mind-set that individual achievement should be recorded so it may inspire others to excel. The Lives is a chronological account of the progress of art divided into three stages. In the first stage, the leading figure is Giotto who, in Vasari's view, was responsible for the rebirth of art after the decline it had suffered when the Roman era ended. Giotto and his followers examined nature carefully, tried to imitate its colors and forms on the pictorial surface, and to portray their figures expressively. The second stage is the era of Masaccio who applied science to art, introducing anatomical realism and one-point linear and atmospheric perspective. The third and final stage, the era of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo, resulted in the complete triumph over nature. Of these three key figures, Vasari believed that it was Michelangelo, whom he knew personally, who had achieved the heights of perfection. Vasari's text continues to be employed as a major source of information on the artists of the Renaissance and its three-partite division of the period still serves as the basis for the modern assessment of Renaissance art.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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  • Vasari, Giorgio — born July 30, 1511, Arezzo died June 27, 1574, Florence Italian painter, architect, and writer. Though he was a prolific painter in the Mannerist style, he is more highly regarded as an architect (he designed the Uffizi Palace, now the Uffizi… …   Universalium

  • Vasari, Giorgio — (1511 1574)    Italian artist and architect, best known as the author of a highly influential history of art. The son of an artisan of Arezzo, he received a good vernacular education and had sufficient command of Latin to read works in that… …   Historical Dictionary of Renaissance

  • Vasari, Giorgio — (30 jul. 1511, Arezzo–27 jun. 1574, Florencia). Pintor, arquitecto y escritor italiano. Aunque fue un pintor prolífico dentro del estilo del manierismo, es más reconocido como arquitecto (diseñó el palacio de los Uffizi, en la actualidad la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Vasari,Giorgio — Va·sa·ri (və zärʹē, särʹē, vä zäʹrē), Giorgio. 1511 1574. Italian painter, architect, and art historian who wrote Lives of the Most Eminent Italian Architects, Painters, and Sculptors (1550), a history of Renaissance art. * * * …   Universalium

  • VASARI, GIORGIO —    Italian painter and architect, born in Arezzo; was the author of biographies of Italian artists, and it is on these, with the criticism they contain, that his title to fame rests (1511 1574) …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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  • Giorgio Vasari —     Giorgio Vasari     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Giorgio Vasari     Painter, architect, and writer, b. at Arezzo, 1511; d. at Florence, 1574. Although an artist of considerable repute, Vasari depends for immortality on his remarkable work, Vite… …   Catholic encyclopedia

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