I know this year is almost finished but I feel that I should mention that 2011 is the fifth centenary of the birth of Giorgio Vasari (1511 – 1574). This artist was born in the small Tuscan town of Arezzo in 1511. Vasari was in the service of Cosimo I, who commissioned important works from this artist for the prestige of the Medici family in Florence.
Vasari was a multifaceted Renaissance man- an architect, painter (on canvas and frescos), a designer of theatrical scenery and author. His book, “The Lives of the Artists”, is a milestone for artists and historians even today. In it he writes biographies about artists from Cimabue to Michelangelo and is the first to systematically organize them as history. The book is also a true recipe to understand differing artistic techniques of the time.
Among the most important projects in which Vasari was involved: the Uffizi gallery (the family’s administrative building); the Vasari Corridor (which links the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi to the Pitti Palace); the Last Judgement frescoes inside the Cathedral Dome (begun by Vasari and finished by Federico Zuccari); the celebrated frescos concerning the defeat of Pisa in the Hall of Five Hundred in the Palazzo Vecchio. In writing about this work in a post last year (November 2010), I mentioned about the ongoing investigation to find a lost work by Leonardo da Vinci “The Battle of Anghiari”. This work is assumed to be underneath the frescoes by Vasari. The analysis is being carried out by Prof. Maurizio Seracini (who was my professor when I was studying Fine Art Restoration at the UIA). The last test with a special probe shows that indeed da Vinci has really painted on a wall cavity. The investigations are still continuing! The arrival at this conclusion was possible also in thanks to Vasari’s biography and to archival documents relating to the Hall’s renovations which Vasari himself carried out.
- Posted by Angelica