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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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Chapter Two

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Giovanni Battista Adriani LETTER FROM MESSER GIOVAMBATISTA, OF MESSER MARCELLO ADRIANI’S FAMILY, TO MESSER GIORGIO VASARI IN WHICH THE NAMES AND WORKS OF THE MOST ANCIENT AND EXCELLENT ARTISTS IN PAINTING, BRONZE, AND MARBLE ARE BRIEFLY DESCRIBED AND HEREBY ATTACHED; SO THAT NONE OF THE FACTS THAT MAY BELONG TO THE ENTIRE KNOWLEDGE AND GLORY OF THESE EXTREMELY WORTHY ARTS MIGHT BE DESIRED I had been in doubt, my dearest Messer Giorgio, if what Your Grace and the most reverend don Vincenzo Borghini have many times requested of me, should be written or not. That is, to gather and briefly tell about those artists who in painting, sculpture, and similar arts, in ancient times, were celebrated (the number of which is very large); in what period in time their arts flour- ished, and about those whose works were the most honored and famous. This undertaking, if I am not wrong, is in itself very pleasant, but it would be more fitting to those who performed such arts or to those whom could more pre- cisely talk about them as experts. As much as it is necessary to lecture about the creation of artworks, very frequently it happens to be necessary to talk about things that others do not know completely. Each medium has its own facts and special terminology that are not generally known and may only be accurately understood by those who are educated in them. Not only was I wrestling with this doubt, but also with many others,...

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