Thursday, May 3, 2007
Renaissance Gothfather Giorgio Vasari's Book
Every few year we get new translation of Lives of the Most Eminent Painters. It is a piece of work that resists four century's and a half, and is still one of ground work from field of fine art. IT is one of most important historical document, containing most of information of Italian renaissance. As well Vasari is a man that not only discovered the term Renaissance, he actually started with History of Art.
Giorgio Vasari(1511-1574) was born in Arezzy, Italy, in city that belong to Florentine Republic at that time. His father send him as Giorgio was still a boy to Florence, to study as painter, and as Vasari says for him self he was studying at Michelangelo, but some historians doubt in that, and later he studied at Adndrea Del Sart and Baccio Bandinelli. He studied together with members of Medicci family and so he got strongly related to this important family. Later on he studied under gardiance of Medicci in Rome and he was able to admire works of Michalangelo and Rafaello. Slowly he build his reputation as as an artist as he was working in different Italian cities, so he meanwhile got familiar with masterpieces of great Italian artist. He got his idea for Book about famous painters at dinner 1546, and the idea was provided to him by cardinal Farnese. first book with original title Le vite de'piu eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architetiori was printed in Florence in 1550 and was grabbed of as it was released, so Vasari became preparing him self for second edition, and meanwhile he did some amazing architect projects in Toscany. He modeled the palace Uffizi and long hall that is it connecting to Palace Pitty. He also redo the palace Cavaliero in Pisa. He was one of first members and establisher of Florence Academie del Disegno and he cooperated in renovation of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce churches in Florence. From his painter work is well known his wall painting in Pallazio Vecchio in Florence. No matter of importance of his painting and architect works he is famous for his book Lives of the Most Eminent Painters.
We must not forget that his book is not encyclopedia, but is deep thought study of development of different manner in Italian art till middle of 16. century. The book starts with Givanni Cimabue, and he ends with Tizian, the period of 250 years is covered in his book. Some of Vasari stories are relative short and stubborn, others are long for whole book and with very precise and detailed anecdotes talks about life and art of artist. Case like this is Michaelangelo's and Rafaell, Vasari was deeply admiring those two artis and he is building them piedistall in that book.
He started with the project in way that he organised the artist depending on quality and style, evolution of Italian Renaissance he explained with theory of organic development> this three staged development begun with Cimabuel and Giotto, because they started with innovative and stylistic exploring. In second faze are artist as is Brunelleschi, for which is more recognized sophisticated techniques of modeling and perspective, as well as he was combinating his development in many years in perfection of artist as Leonardo, Raffaelo and mostly with Michelangelo. Important is , that Vasari in his final decisions mostly right; artist that he is writing about in his book are still registered in their canon , and the ones he is critical over are mostly forgot these days. He talks about Renaissance in sense of of again rebirth of old Roman artistic and cultural value after the darkness middle age. VAsari's book became famus as well because of the style that is written.
sometime sthe translator translate just parts of in original extremely long lectures, which is pity, even if the lectures are extremely carefully sorted and in style of Vasari and pondered with opinion of art historians.