One of the greatest biographies of an artist ever written, and a
key document of the Renaissance. Written by a friend, fellow
painter and fellow Florentine.
Michelangelo Buonarrotti (1475-1564) is perhaps the
greatest artist in the entire Western tradition. In painting,
sculpture and architecture he created works that went
beyond anything imagined before. The David - miraculously
created, as Vasari describes, out of a piece of marble botched
by another sculptor - the Sistine Ceiling, the Sistine Last
Judgement, before which the Pope knelt in terrifed prayer
when it was first unveiled: these works have lost none of their
Michelangelo's impact was immediate and he achieved a
level of fame and influence that was unprecedented. It is not
surprising, therefore, that the painter Giorgio Vasari should
have made him the culmination of his Lives of the Painters,
Sculptors and Architects, the first true work of art history. Vasari
was a close colleague as well as a fellow-artist and fellow-
Florentine. The biography printed here, from Vasari's much
improved second edition, draws a picture of Michelangelo the
man and the artist that has an immediacy and an authority
that have not been surpassed. The introduction by David
Hemsoll situates this great work in the context of 16th
century Italian art.
Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), painter, architect and intimate of the Medici, was a leading exponent of the later renaissance style sometimes called Mannerism, which was heavily influenced by Michelangelo. His lasting monument, however, is undoubtedly the Lives of the most excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, published in 1550 and in an enlarged edition in 1568.