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Giorgio Vasari’s «Prefaces»

Art and Theory- With a foreword by Wolfram Prinz

Liana De Girolami Cheney

Giorgio Vasari’s Prefaces: Art and Theory provides students and scholars alike with the opportunity to study and understand the art, theory, and visual culture of Giorgio Vasari and sixteenth century Italy. For the first time all of Vasari’s Prefaces from the Lives of the Artists (1568) are included translated into English as well as in the original Italian. Also included is an English translation of Giovanni Battista Adriani’s letter to Giorgio Vasari enlightening Vasari on the art of the ancient masters.
Through the eyes of Vasari, this book captures the creative achievements of his fellow artists – how they adopt nature and the classical tradition as their muses and how they ingeniously interpret the secular and religious themes of the past and present. Vasari himself is lauded for the transformation of the artist from one of being a mere laborer to one who imbues his work with intellectual depth and is recognized as a creator of beautiful visual myths.


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Foreword by Wolfram Prinz xi


Foreword Liana De Girolami Cheney’s Giorgio Vasari’s Prefaces: Art and Theory pro- vides an extensive survey of the content and meaning of Giorgio Vasari’s Pref- aces from the Lives of the Most Excellent Architects, Painters and Sculptors (Le vite de’più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori, 1550 and 1568 editions, Figs. 1–5), a fundamental Cinquecento work that embraces the time from antiquity up to the time of Vasari. Cheney’s book successfully documents how, in the Prefaces, Vasari presents his artistic theory as well as capturing the essence of the artistic practices of his fellow artists. Giorgio Vasari’s Prefaces: Art and Theory reveals the importance of the work of Vasari, who is the first to understand and expand the view of Italian Renaissance art and theory. It considers Vasari’s intellectual ability, observing his erudition, his knowledge of ancient literature and philosophy, and his rela- tionship with the humanists of his time. Giorgio Vasari’s Prefaces: Art and Theory encapsulates the importance for Vasari to formulate the role of the artist as a creator of beautiful forms and an intellectual being. In addition, it demonstrates the significance of the Pref- aces for Vasari because in them he articulates several concepts about art and art theory that will influence the study of art history in years to come. Giorgio Vasari’s Prefaces: Art and Theory articulates Vasari’s artistic quests are best expressed in is Prefaces, including notions about periodicity, history and rebirth of art (rinascita); his explanation of how Florentine artists learn to master their...

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