Birthday: July 30, 1511
Died At Age: 62
Sun Sign: Leo
Born in: Arezzo, Tuscany
Famous as: Painter, Architect
Spouse/Ex-: Nicolosa Bacci
father: Antonio Vasari
mother: Maddelena Tacci
Died on: June 27, 1574
place of death: Florence
Founder/Co-Founder: Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze
Giorgio Vasari was an Italian artist, architect and art historian and one of the most influential artists in 16th century Italy. Vasari grew up in the town of Arezzo in Italy and trained under the guidance of his relatives before moving to Florence in order to get the relevant expertise needed to be an artist. Vasari also went to Rome to learn the finer points of painting by observing the work of the masters. One of the most important things to point out regarding the career of Giorgio Vasari is that although he was a well-known painter he was not regarded as one of the giants of his time and instead his work as an architect was far more appreciated by art enthusiasts. The Medici family, who were the most influential patrons of the arts commissioned him to work on one of their palaces as well. Vasari’s book on the artists of his era is still regarded as a reference for anyone who wishes to know about the great artists of the renaissance and that is certainly one of his biggest legacies in spite of the fact that the book has been criticised by historians due to apparent bias towards certain artists.
Childhood & Early Life
Giorgio Vasari was born on 30 June, 1511 in the city of Arezzo in Tuscany, Italy, to Antonio Vasari and his wife Maddelena Tacci. His father was a potter and his grandfather was also a craftsman by trade.
Italian renaissance painter Luca Signorelli, who was also his cousin, took an interest in the affairs of Giorgio Vasari when he was young and set him up to train under the guidance of the painter Guglielmo de Marcillat. He trained under him till he was well into his teens.
In 1527, when Vasari was 16 years old, he was sent to Florence, the art capital of Italy at the time, and that is where his serious training in the arts got underway. In Florence, Vasari was trained by Andrea del Sarto and also became acquainted with other painters including Michelangelo who influenced his style. Vasari also became well acquainted with the Medici family during his time in Florence.
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After completing his art training in Florence, Giorgio Vasari travelled to Rome in 1527 in to have a look at the work of the Roman artists in order to imbibe some of it into in his own work. Vasari became one of the most favoured painters for the influential Medici family who gave him plenty of commissions in different cities in Italy.
It was in the year 1547 that Giorgio Vasari completed the frescoes at the hall of Palazzo della Cancellaria located in Rome and the elaborate fresco came to be known as Saladei Cento Giorni. It was the toughest assignment of his career at the time.
Giorgio Vasari next became involved in chronicling the lives, times, works and techniques of the great artists of the era and published his book ‘Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects’ in the year 1550. It was the first work of its kind and it was Vasari who first coined the term Renaissance in that book. The book was later on amplified to include many other writers and came to be known as ‘Lives’
His most famous artwork began in the year 1555 when he undertook the task of painting the frescoes at Palazzo Vechhio, located in Florence. Like many other commissions of his career, this too was completed with the help of a team of artists.
Although it is true that Giorgio Vasari started off as a painter, it is as an architect that he is more highly regarded by experts. One of his most well-known works as an architect was the Uffizi in Florence. Commissioned by a member of the Medici family, it was built in 1560. Other works include the Cavalieri di San Stefano palace in Pisa. Vasari also undertook renovation work for big churches.
Although Giorgio Vasari was an artist as well as an architect by profession; his most important and celebrated work is the book ‘Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects’. It was published in 1550 and chronicled the lives of renaissance artists. It serves as an excellent work for students of the history of art but at the same time critics have argued that the book displays a bias for artists from Florence.
Personal Life & Legacy
Giorgio Vasari got married to Nicolosa Bacci in 1549, at the age of 38. There is no record of the couple ever having any children. However, prior to his marriage Vasari did have two children, whose mother might have been his housemaid.
While working on a project, Giorgio Vasari died on 27 June 1574. He was 62 years old.