22 Facts About Vasari


Giorgio Vasari was an Italian painter, architect, engineer, writer, and historian, best known for his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing, and the basis for biographies of several Renaissance artists, including Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

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Vasari designed the Tomb of Michelangelo in the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence that was completed in 1578.

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Vasari was befriended by Michelangelo, whose painting style would influence his own.

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Vasari was employed consistently by members of the Medici family in Florence and Rome, and worked in Naples, Arezzo, and other places.

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Vasari helped to organize the decoration of the Studiolo, now reassembled in the Palazzo Vecchio.

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In Florence, Vasari built the long passage, now called Vasari Corridor, which connects the Uffizi with the Palazzo Pitti on the other side of the river.

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Vasari renovated the medieval churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce.

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In 1562, Vasari built the octagonal dome on the Basilica of Our Lady of Humility in Pistoia, an important example of High Renaissance architecture.

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In Rome, Vasari worked with Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola and Bartolomeo Ammannati at Pope Julius III's Villa Giulia.

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Vasari was the first to use the term "Rinascita" in print – although an awareness of an ongoing "rebirth" in the arts had been in the air since the time of Alberti.

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Vasari's term, applied to the change in artistic styles with the work of Giotto, eventually would become the French term Renaissance for the era that followed.

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Vasari was responsible for the modern use of the term Gothic art, as well, although he only used the word Goth in association with the German style that preceded the rebirth, which he identified as "barbaric".

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Between his first and second editions, Vasari visited Venice and while the second edition gave more attention to Venetian art, it did so without achieving a neutral point of view.

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For example, Vasari writes that Andrea del Castagno killed Domenico Veneziano, which is incorrect, Andrea died several years before Domenico.

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Vasari dismisses Bazzi's work as lazy and offensive, despite the artist's having been named a Cavaliere di Cristo by Pope Leo X and having received important commissions for the Villa Farnese and other sites.

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Vasari did not research archives for exact dates, as modern art historians do, and naturally, his biographies are most dependable for the painters of his own generation and those of the immediate past generation.

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Vasari includes a sketch of his own biography at the end of the Lives, and adds further details about him and his family in his lives of Lazzaro Vasari and Francesco Salviati.

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Vasari used it repeatedly, and stressed the concept in his introduction to the life of Pietro Perugino, in explaining the reasons for Florentine artistic preeminence.

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Vasari enjoyed high repute during his lifetime and amassed a considerable fortune.

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Vasari married Niccolosa Bacci, a member of one of the richest and most prominent families of Arezzo.

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Vasari was elected to the municipal council of his native town and finally, rose to the supreme office of gonfaloniere.

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Vasari built a fine house in Arezzo in 1547 and decorated its walls and vaults with paintings.

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