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Readings in Italian Mannerism II



Edited By Liana De Girolami Cheney

This collection celebrates the 450th year anniversary of the publication of Giorgio Vasari’s Vite (The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects [Florence: Giunti, 1568]), in which, in the prolegomenon, architects were highly praised along with the principles and technology of architecture. To honor this significant event, the selected articles in this book contain some published excerpts, some revised and expanded, some never published. These articles demonstrate the extraordinary influence of the classical tradition in Renaissance and Mannerist architecture and its role in the education of architectural students. In particular, these essays discuss the materials employed and their functions as well as the architect’s role in society. These articles also address the impact of Mannerist architecture and art theory in sixteenth-century European architecture and culture.

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E. To the Artists in Design (Giorgio Vasari)


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Giorgio Vasari

Editor’s Note

Giorgio Vasari’s (1511–74) Dedicatory to the Artist of Design from the Vite was selected to illustrate the continuum from classical to Renaissance and Mannerism on the importance of the role of an artist for an architect in the Italian sixteenth century. Vasari’s objective in writing the Vite was to demonstrate that artists were not mere laborers but creators of beautiful forms. All through his life, Vasari considered himself not just as a painter but also as an architect. Clear evidence of this primary interest in architecture is the original 1550 title of the Vite, which placed architecture before painting and sculpture. More evidence can be found in the numerous projects for decorative cycles, festival and architectural designs, and edifices, e.g., Palazzo Vecchio, Entries for Venetian Carnivals, Medici Weddings, Uffizi Gallery, The Corridor Vasariano, Palazzo della Carovana, Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri, and the Duomo of Florence.

Vasari began his Vite with a section about the Three Arts of Design, discussing the components and materials of Architecture, Painting, and Sculpture. Here Vasari appropriated the way in which Vitruvius and Alberti commented on the role of the architect and the function of materials, as well as the importance of teaching these approaches to future generations of architects. When ← 67 | 68 → formulating the criteria for the art of his period (Maniera/Mannerism), Vasari not only was inspired by the architectural creativity...

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