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Lives Of The Painters, Sculptors And Architects

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  15,760 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
Translated with an introduction by George Bull and notes on the artists by Peter Murray

In writing his, Lives, Vasari revealed a literary talent that matched, or even outshone, his abilities as an artist and architect.

Vasari's original vision of the arts, in which he sees the artist as divinely inspired, permeates this second volume as much as the first. Although at times i

Published November 14th 1996 by Everyman's Library (first published 1550)
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This 2005 Dover edition is an abridged version of a 1967 two volume edition of Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, often called today Lives of the Artists, or just “Vasari’s Lives”. The translation used is that of Mrs. Jonathan Foster (1851). The artists included are Giotto, Masaccio, Fra Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Titian. These eight artists are covered in less than 250 pages. Of the eight lives, that of Michelan ...more
Apr 12, 2016 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Men of genius sometimes accomplish most when they work the least, for they are thinking out inventions and forming in their minds the perfect idea that they subsequently express with their hands.
― Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects


I normally don't gravitate towards abridged books, but Vasari's 'The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects' is a book that needs to be: 1) read by art history experts in its entirety (2000+ pag
Mar 02, 2016 Myles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting to read about all the works that no longer exist. Also really useful in that it makes these larger-than-life artists at least semi-human. Lots of moments like this:

"Then Michaelangelo made a model in wax of a young David with a sling in his hand, and began to work in S. Maria del Fiore, setting up a hoarding round the marble, and working at it continually without any seeing it until he had brought it to perfection. Master Simone had so spoilt the marble that in some places there was
Emma Iadanza
I absolutely love the Renaissance. The history, the art, the literature, everything. I find it fascinating and amazing. And windows into the history, like this book, are amazing. And, indeed, this book was wonderful.

Vasari was architect to Duke Cosimo I de' Medici- he built the Uffizi gallery, the Vasari Corridor, and did various paintings and such, including the interior of the Duomo and also some portrait. I personally do not love all of his art. In any case, he was also the first art historia
I read most of this when I was in college, studying art history. For fun. And maybe to impress my professor because I was taking a survey course of Italian Renaissance art.

I got the 4 volume set from the library and read the whole first volume, parts of the 2nd and 3rd and the pretty much all of volume 4 which was almost entirely about Michelangelo because Vasari was one of his BFF's.

It's fun if you're into art history or if you're interested in totally non-objective information on art and arti
"But what inflicted incomparably greater damage and loss on the arts than the things we have mentioned [Constantine’s move to Bysantz, invasions, etc.] was the fervent enthusiasm of the new Christian religion. After long and bloody combat, Christianity, aided by a host of miracles and the burning sincerity of its adherents, defeated and wiped out the old faith of the pagans. Then with great fervour and diligence it strove to cast out and utterly destroy every last possible occasion of sin; and i ...more
Beth Mayfield-House
My undergraduate degree is in Art History so I've read my fair share of Art History books. It was interesting to me the way he presented artists which was very different than any Art History book I've ever read. Most Modern Art Historians tell you why the artist is important and what he or she did for art but I've never heard it said that this artist's work was so beautiful that you wonder if he is human or if his hand was touched by God -- That's how Vasari presents the artists. He puts a lot o ...more
Sep 20, 2007 Jessie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Visari is not the most articulate art critic, but this book is worth reading for some of the anecdotes. Highlights include Michaelangelo throwing wooden planks at the Pope for sneaking a look at his work.
Nov 16, 2007 Erik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first candidate for the "what if you were marooned on a desert island" list.
Bill Gusky
Sep 18, 2011 Bill Gusky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you care about art it's a must-read.
Excellent primary source of the lives of famous artists of the Renaissance. This book is divided into three sections which are all lead by a preface explaining Vasari's point of view.

Vasari is a firm believer that the Renaissance was one of divine intervention. He often describes these artists in a divine light. God, as the first Architect, the first Artist, bestowed his gift upon these men, resulting in the beautiful art we see today, either in person, in books, or on television. Most importan
May 05, 2014 manatee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book boring when I tried to read it in Texas, but utterly fascinating and indispensable when I read it in my hotel room in Florence. It really helped make my vacation in Florence meaningful since I spent four days staring up at art filled cathedral ceilings.

Vasari is really just a big gossip,but he really does put things in perspective. (Pun intended). He talks about who squandered his money on his terrible wife and who drank a lot ,but he talks about how Cimabue and Giotto started
Cassandra Kay Silva
I was hoping a bit more from this ancient gossip. Alas! Vasari was not the best of writers. He shows great favoritism to certain artists and a lot of the information was inaccurate. A few interesting stories though I liked hearing of the decoration of the old church. I also have a fascination with Ludovico Ariosto and was interested in the bit about him and Titan. I looked up many of these works online so I could get an idea of what he was describing and felt that some of his descriptions either ...more
Oct 29, 2015 Neil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book to delve into whether you have a love of Italian Renaissance Art or not.An exceptional read.
Aug 16, 2009 Tinytextiles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book for those interested in the artists of the Italian Renaissance. I have only read about one of the artists--Perugino--whose later paintings are more to my liking for this period of mostly religious work. Vasari's Lives provides a lot of interesting details of the paintings and the artist.My recommendation is to read only one chapter of an artist a month. You will need to refer to the Web sites for pictures of the paintings.
Laura Localio
I read this in college while taking a Renaissance History Course. It was a bit of a difficult read (for me at least), but interesting if you like historical info about art.
Jul 06, 2012 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Someone left a copy of this book in my apartment in Florence, and since I didn't bring that much reading material with me, I've been reading it in bits and pieces throughout the last few weeks.

If you ever plan to visit Florence, Italy, read this book before you go. Knowing some information about the artists, their methods, their contemporaries, and their intentions can help make the mountains of Renaissance art here more meaningful (and less likely to start to blur together after a couple of the
M. Milner
A series of mini-biographies of Renaissance artists, Vasari's Lives of the Artists is a fascinating look at a major period of art history.

Composed something like Plutarch's lives (I wonder if he was an influence?), Vasari tells about the rise of painting, sculpture and architecture in Italy in a series of biographies that range from everyone from Giotto (1266-1337) to Michelangelo (1475-1564). It covers the rediscovery of Roman and Greek sculpture and literature, improvements in painting and te
Good reference for art historians studying the Renaissance. The version I had only held three prefaces with numerous artists in each section. Sadly, there was no Veronese, although I heard that other editions included that.

The artists start off with Cimabue and Giotto, whom Vasari holds in high regard as re-claiming the antiquities. You will not find anything about Romanesque or Gothic art. Like Petrarch, Vasari believes in discontinuous history, in which both these art periods are of the Dark
Oct 10, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is fascinating for anyone with a love and knowledge of the Italian Renaissance, Vasari was an entertaining writer as well as artist and his first hand account of almost mythical figures is quite interesting. The artists, their assistants, and the patrons are discussed in detail.
Rosa Ramôa
Jan 06, 2016 Rosa Ramôa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Lourenço de Médicis favoreceu sempre os grandes génios,particularmente os nobres dotados para as artes.(...)Àqueles demasiado pobres (...)assegurava os meios de vida e vestuário e concedia
grandes recompensas aos que,entre eles,realizavam os melhores trabalhos".
Sep 04, 2015 Miriam rated it liked it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
As nonfiction goes, that was an entertaining ride. I listened to this audiobook over the course of weeks on my commutes to and from work, and there were several times I had to pause to laugh at Vasari's wit, both intentional and un. I will admit that most of the reason that I read this is because I narrated two chapters of this LibriVox version, and so I get Goodreads author credit for it. Still, I had no idea when I was reading it what a firecracker Vasari was, or how entertaining his stories a ...more
May 03, 2013 Pavel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, art-history
Bible of Renaissance Art lovers. Written by Giorgio Vasari who was an artist himself and lived roughly few decades after main renaissance events (that's why a lot of evidences and judgements from "The lives of the Artists" are disputed by modern specialists). The book is structured as a collection of biographic stories with a strong emphasis on concrete works of art that Vasari saw himself and his impressions on those. As I understand, as a Florentine Vasari showed whole renaissance art scene wi ...more
May 02, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This man lived with the Greats of the Renaissance! Vasari's writing is engaging in a story-telling fashion. Will read again!
Mar 01, 2013 Sherry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are really, really interested in biographies of Italian Renaissance artists, this book is the hot ticket. It gives you Vasari's understanding of the politics and criticism of the day, with the caveat the Vasari was more of a storyteller than a historian. Some of his stories have not proven to be 100% accurate. But they are good stories. Michelangelo, Alberti, Donatello, the names you may (or may not) remember from your art history classes are all hear. Who influenced whom (see comment abo ...more
Chaitrali Joshi
Read it just before my trip to Italy. An easy read and a concise and illuminating introduction to the Italian greats.
Mirvan  Ereon
Apr 26, 2012 Mirvan Ereon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books on art that I have. My favorite artists are depicted here and I am so happy that i could glimpse what their lives somehow had been from their beginnings to their grand mastery of art. Well, Vasari might not be really reliable with what he wrote about but then again, historians can never be reliable. I read this book the way I read a creative non-fiction - with an open mind and heart and open to all possibilities. I was hoping to know more about my favorites, even di ...more
Anna Smereca
Aug 28, 2015 Anna Smereca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was reading full version by of this book, but after the page 1000, I’ve tired a little and decided to read only about some artists from the rest of the book. What can I say, the book is amazing and you can really plunge into Renaissance.
Scott Hastie
Feb 14, 2015 Scott Hastie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Its topic the fire of true ambition and timeless achievement
Apr 07, 2016 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have the illustrated edition now as I was so taken with what I read in the paperpack. Currently reading about Donatello.
I can see why this book is considered one of the best books about art and artists ever written. A classic. Where else can you read first hand anecdotes about Michelangelo etc! Many of the anecdotes show a human side to the artist and are amusing, even if some may be apocryphal!

I am so inspired I have started writing a series of poems imagining the artists replying to Vasari!
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Giorgio Vasari was an Italian painter and architect, known for his famous biographies of Italian artists.
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