Giorgio Vasari

Giorgio Vasari (* July 30, 1511 in Arezzo, † June 27, 1574 in Florence ) was an Italian architect, court painter to the Medici, and biographer of Italian artists, including Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo. He is regarded by his writings on the life and work of contemporary artists as one of the first art historian. Vasari introduced the concept of a Gothic, but pejoratively: As an admirer of the aesthetics of ancient art, he felt this medieval art style as strange, barbaric, confused ( Italian: Gotico ). Even the style term Mannerism goes back to him. Used in his descriptions of the Italian artist Vasari in 1550 also the first word rinascita ( Renaissance ).

  • 4.1 Books
  • 4.2 Structures
  • 4.3 painting
  • 6.1 About Vasari
  • 6.2 Subsequent translations and reprints of the biographies
  • 6.3 Electronic resource of biographies


Vasari's family came from the tradition of pottery from Arezzo (Italian Vasaio - Potter ). After training by Pollastra and the glass painter Guglielmo de Marcillat in Arezzo succeeded his father to ask his son Giorgio under the care of the Medici, where he was trained in cooperation with the Medici sons Ippolito and Alessandro. In addition to his literary skills Vasari expanded his knowledge of the painting in the workshop of Andrea del Sarto and Baccio Bandinelli.

1512, when the Medici after their exile forced their return to Florence, smashed a bank that was thrown out of a window, the left arm of the statue of David. The young Vasari to have been collected and preserved the fragments. After the rule of the Medici was finally secured, he handed it in 1543 Cosimo I, who restored the figure.

With the Republican revolution of 1527 Vasari fled from Florence to his native city of Arezzo, where he received the first orders. 1530 was the first time in Rome, from 1531 he worked again on behalf of the Medici. After the assassination of the Florentine rulers Alessandro de ' Medici by his cousin Lorenzino de Medici in January 1537 was a painter Vasari of the Order of Olivetans. In this role, Vasari was able to gather information on his travels to the artworks of Italy, which he later in his book Le Vite de ' più eccellenti pittori Scultori ed architettori ( biographies, published in 1550, second, heavily revised edition 1568) processed. This work, in which over a period of three centuries, a total of 108 artist biographies, beginning with Giovanni Cimabue (* 1240) are shown to Michelangelo ( many had worked on behalf of the Medici ), is considered the most important source of information about the artists of the Italian Renaissance. " For the idea of ​​the history of art as a Hero story to tell as a succession of outstanding individuals, Giorgio Vasari mean for the first time in 1550, published in the print life of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects an effective powerful event ," says Andreas Dorschel fixed; previously had only rulers, generals, philosophers, saints, but not recognized artists such representation.

Vasari frescoed in 1546 a hall of Cancelleria in Rome with scenes from the life of Pope Paul III. It is considered unsecured, that his grandfather in Rome was in contact with Michelangelo's mother and the two had a relationship. In 1540 he acquired the Casa Vasari in Arezzo and furnished rooms of the first floor with paintings. In the oil and tempera paintings of the coffered ceiling of the Sala del Camino of life between virtues and vices, and the influence of the heavenly bodies is shown. In the center is the octagonal image: Virtue, which suggests that happiness and to their feet holding the envy. On the sides are depicted the four seasons, the ages of man. At the edge there is the planet with the Tierkreiszeichen.In Florence he worked on the large Arno flood in 1557 on the restoration of many buildings ( Palazzo Vecchio, Uffizi ) and was the architect of the Ponte di S. Trinita, then as the most beautiful bridge in Europe was considered. In his hometown of Arezzo, he designed the Pieve of Santa Maria, which now houses his grave is, the Badia delle Sante Flora e Lucilla he built around fundamentally.


"Michelangelo introduced Mr. Tommaso in a large box from nature is, he who neither before nor after ever made ​​a portrait, because it was him Greul to do something after life, if it was not of the highest beauty. "

" The richest and most supernatural gifts sometimes we often see poured out in a natural way with the help of the celestial influences on human creatures; we see in monstrous way beauty, kindness and virtue so united in a single body, that, wherever those turns, his every action is so divine that all men remain behind him and it clearly revealed: What it does, is donated by God, not enforced by human skill. This has seen the world of Leonardo da Vinci. For, apart from its never enough praised beauty, divine grace fulfilled all his actions "


The following Italian artist Vasari gave in three volumes with biographies. His biographical art encyclopedias (Le vite dei più eccellenti architetti, pittori et Scultori italiani ) apply despite their historical " inaccuracies " for interpretation of the Renaissance as indispensable.

The list of artists, arranged according to the three parts ( edition of 1568):

Part One

Part Two

Part Three


  • Le Vite de ' più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et Scultori italiani, da Cimabue Infino a' tempi nostri: descritte in lingua toscana da Giorgio Vasari, pittore arentino - Con una sua et utile necessaria introduzione a le arti loro. L. Torre Tino, Florence 1550, 2 vols

1568 appeared a new, expanded edition with a slightly different title:

  • Le Vite de ' più eccellenti pittori, Scultori et architettori, scritte e di nuovo ampliate da Giorgio Vasari con i loro ritratti e con l' aggiunta delle vite de' vivi e de ' morti dall'anno 1550 Infino al 1567. Giunti, Florence 1568, 3 vols


  • Vasari Corridor in Florence (connected for the Medici between Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti across the Ponte Vecchio )
  • Uffizi Gallery in Florence
  • Design of the staircase in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence
  • Palazzo delle Sign in Arezzo.


  • Paintings in the Church of Saint Ilario Donnino and the monastery of Camaldoli, 1537-40.
  • Frescoes and ceiling paintings in the Casa di Giorgio Vasari in Arezzo, about 1541-46 and again to 1568th
  • Frescoes in the Sala dei Cento Giorni in the Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome 1546 / 47th
  • Frescoes and ceiling paintings in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence ( quarters di Leone X, quarters degli Elementi, quarters di Eleonora and Sala dei Cinquecento ), 1555-65.
  • Designs for the study of the Grand Duke Francesco I in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, about 1568-70.
  • Frescoes in the Casa di Giorgio Vasari in Florence, Borgo S. Croce, about 1569-73.
  • Frescoes in the Sala Regia of the Vatican Palace in Rome, 1572.
  • Dome of the Duomo in Florence, fresco The Last Judgement, 1572-74, completed by Federico Zuccaro 1574-79


In October 2009 it was announced that the left in Arezzo archive of the artist for 150 million euros was sold to a Russian holding company.