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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 Seven

Extract

Description of the Works of Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574) Painter and Architect of Arezzo Having discoursed hitherto of the works of others, with the greatest diligence and sincerity that my brain has been able to command, I also wish at the end of these my labors to assemble together and make known to the world the works that the Divine Goodness in its grace has enabled me to execute, for the reason that, if indeed they are not of that perfection which I might wish, it will yet be seen by him who may consent to look at them with no jaundiced eye that they have been wrought by me with study, diligence, and loving labor, and are therefore worthy, if not of praise, at least of excuse; besides which, being out in the world and open to view, I cannot hide them. And since per- chance at some time they might be described by some other person, it is surely better that I should confess the truth, and of myself accuse my imperfection, which I know only too well, being assured of this, that if, as I said, there may not be seen in them the perfection of excellence, there will be perceived at least an ardent desire to work well, great and indefatigable effort, and the extra- ordinary love that I bear to our arts. Wherefore it may come about that, according to the law, myself confessing openly my own deficiencies, I shall be in great part pardoned....

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