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Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, 1550 & 1568

VASARI, LE VITE
Lives of the Artists DE PIV ECCELENTI ARCHITETTI, PITTORI, ET
SCVLTORI ITALIANI, DA CIMABUE A' TEMPI
NOSTRI: DESCRITTE IN LINGUA TOSCANA, DA
GIORGIO VASARI PITTORE ARETINO. [1550]
LE VITE
DE' PIU ECCELLENTI PITTORI, SCULTORI, E
ARCHITETTORI, Scritte Da M. Giorgio Vasari, Pittore et
Architectto Aretino [1568]
[Dedication to Cosimo Duke of Florence]
[To the Three Arts of Design]:Dell’ Architettura; Delia
Scultura;
Delia Pittura.*

PREFACE TO THE WHOLE WORK PROEMIO DI TVTTA L'OPERA.

1) It was the wont of the honest spirits in all their actions, Soleano gli spiriti egregij in tutte le azzioni loro, per uno
through a burning desire for glory, to spare no labour, however acceso desiderio di Gloria, non perdonare ad alcuna fatica,
grievous, in order to bring their works to that perfection which quantunche grauissima,per condurre le opere loro a quella
might render them impressive and marvellous to the whole perfezzione, che le rendesse stupende, & marauigliose a tut
world; nor could the humble fortunes of marry prevent their to il modo: Ne la bassa Fortuna di molti poteua ritardare i loro
energies from attaining to the highest rank, whether in order to sforzi, dal peruenire a sommi gradi, si per viuere honorati,
live in honour or to leave in the ages to come eternal fame for & si per lasciare ne tempi auenire eterna Fama d'ogni rara
all their rare excellence, [p. 13] loro eccellenza.
2) Pondering over this matter many a time in my own mind, La qual cosa piu volte meco stesso considerando, &
and recognizing, from the example not only of the ancients but conoscendo non solo con 1'esempio degli antichi, ma de
of the moderns as well, that the names of very many architects, moderni ancora, che i nomi di moltissimi Vecchi, &
sculptors, and painters, both old and modern, together with Moderni Architetti, Scultori, & Pittori insieme con infinite
innumerable most beautiful works wrought by them, are going bellissime opere loro, in diuerse parti d'ltalia si vanno
on being forgotten and destroyed little by little, and in such dirnenticando & consumando a poco a poco, & di una
wise, in truth, that nothing can be foretold for them but a maniera per il vero, che ei non sene puo giudicare altro, che
certain and well-nigh immediate death, vna certa morte molto vicina;
3) and wishing to defend them as much as in me lies from this Per difenderli il piu che io posso da questa seconda morte, &
second death, and to preserve them as long as may be possible mstenergli piu lungamente che sia possibile nelle memorie
in the memory of the living; and having spent much time in de viui, hauendo speso moltissimo tempo in cercar quelle,
seeking them out and used the greatest diligence in discovering vsato diligenzia grandissima in ritrouare la Patria, Forigine,
the native city, the origin, and the actions of the craftsmen, & le azzioni degli Artefici,
4) and having with great labour drawn them from the tales of & con fatica grande ritrattole dalle relazioni di molti
old men and from various records and writings, left by their huomini vecchi, & da diuersi ricordi & scritti, lasciati dagli
heirs a prey to dust and food for worms; and finally, having [p. heredi di quelli in preda della poluere, & cibo de tarli. Et
13] received from this both profit and pleasure, I have judged it riceuutone finalmente & vtile & piacere ho giudicato
expedient, nay rather, my duty, to make for them whatsoever conueniente, anzi debito mio fame quella memoria, che il
memorial my weak talents and my small judgment may be able mis debole ingegno, & il poco giudizio potra fare.
to make. A honore dunque di coloro che gia sono morti, & benefrzio
In honour, then, of those who are already dead, and for the di cutti gli studiosi principalmente di queste tre Arti
benefit, for the most part, of all the followers of these three eccelentissime Architcttvra. Scvltvra. & Pittvra. scriuerro le
most excellent arts. Architecture. Sculpture, and Painting. I will Vite delli Artefici di ciascuna, secondo i tempi, che ei sono
write the Lives of the craftsmen of each according to the times stati di mano in mano da Cimabve insino a hoggi; Non
wherein they lived, step by step from Cimabue down to our toccando altro degli antichi se non quanto facesse al
own time; not touching on the ancients save in so far as it may proposito nostro, per non se ne poter dire piu che se ne
concern our subject, seeing that no more can be said of them habbino detto quei tanti Scrittori che sono peruenuti alia eta
than those so many writers have said who have come down to nostra. Trattero bene di molte cose, che si appartengono al
our own age. I will treat thoroughly of many things that Magistero di qual si e 1'una delle Arti dette;
appertain to the science of one or other of the said arts; p. 13—14
[Omitted: The Dispute between Painting and Sculpture}
5) / say, then, that sculpture and painting are in truth sisters, Dico adunque, che la Scultura, & la Pittura per il vero sono
born from one father, that is, design, at one and the same birth, sorelle; note di vn Padre, che e il Diseeno, in vno solparto,
and have no precedence one over the other, save insomuch as & advn tempo: & non precedono I'una alia altra, se non
the worth and the strength of those who maintain them make quanto la virtu. & la forza di coloro, che le portano addosso,
one craftsman surpass another., [pp. 22-23] fa-passare 1'vno Artefice innanzi a 1'altro...
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Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, 1550 & 1568
6) I will begin, then, with ARCHITECTURE, as the most Comincerommi dunque dall'ARCHITETTURA, come da la
universal and the most necessary and useful to men... pixi vniuersale, & piu necessaria & vtile agli huomini,.
Afterwards, discoursing of SCULPTURE, I will tell how Appresso ragionando della SCULTURA, diro come le statue
statues are wrought, the form and the proportion that are si lauorino; la forma & la proporzione che si aspetta loro; &
looked for in them, and of what kind are good sculptures, with quali siano le buone sculture, con tutti gli ammaestramenti
all the most secret and most necessary precepts. piu segreti, & piu necessarij.
Finally, treating of PAINTING, I will speak of Vltimamente discorrendo della PITTURA, diro del Disegno;
draughtsmanship, of the methods of colouring, of the perfect de modi del colorire; delperfettamente condurre le cose',
execution of any work, of the quality of the pictures della qualita di esse Pitture; & di qualunche cosa che da
themselves, and of whatsoever thing appertains to painting; of questa dependa: De' Musaici d'ogni sorte; del Niello; de gli
every kind of mosaic, of niello, of enamelling, of damascening, Smalti; de' lauori alia Damaschina; et finalmente poi delle
and then, lastly, of the printing of pictures. And in this way I stampe delle pitture. Et cosi mi persuade, che queste fatiche
am convinced that these my labours will delight those who are mie, diletteranno coloro che non sono di questi esercizij. Et
not engaged in these pursuits, and will both delight and help diletteranno, & gioueranno [Page 9] a chi ne ha fatto
those who have made them a profession, [pp. 24-25] professione.

PREFACETO THE LIVES [PART I] PP. 27-47 PRO EM IOD ELLEV ITE

[The O rigins of Painting and Sculpture}

1) However, leaving behind us this part, as too uncertain by Pero lasciando questa parte indietro; troppo per 1'antichita
reason of its antiquity, let us come to the clearer matters of sua incerta, vegnamo alle cose piu chiare della loro
their perfection, ruin, and restoration, or rather resurrection. perfezzione. & Rouina. & Restaurazione. & per dir meglio
whereof we will be able to discourse on much better grounds, Rinascita. delle quali con molti miglior fondamenti potreno
[p. 33] ragionare.
2) And to this clear testimony is borne by the works of Et di cio possono rendere chiara testimonanza Fopere di
sculpture and of architecture that were wrought in the time of Scultura, & d'Architettura, che furono fate al tempo di
Constantine in Rome, and in particular the Triumphal Arch Gostantino in Roma, e particularmente. 1'Arco Trionfale,
raised for him by the Roman people near the Colosseum, fattogli dal popolo Romano al colosseo, doue si vede, che
wherein it is seen that in default of good masters they not only per mancamento di Maestri buoni. non solo si seruirono
made use of marble groups made at the time of Trajan, but delle stone di Marmo fatte al tempo di Traiano, ma delle
also of the spoils brought from various places to Rome. And spoglie ancora, condotte di diuersi luoghi a Roma; E chi
whosoever knows that the votive offerings in the medallions. conosce, che i voti, che sono ne' tondi. cioe le Sculture di
that is, the sculptures in half-relief, and likewise the prisoners, mezzo rilieuo, & parimente i prigioni, & le storie grandi. &
and the large groups, and the columns, and the mouldings, and le colonne, & le cornici, & altri omamenti fatti prima, & di
the other ornaments, whether made before or from _spoils. are spoglie sono eccellentemente lauorati', conosce anchora, che
excellently wrought, knows also that the works which were 1'opere, le quali furon fatte per ripieno da gli Scultori di quel
made to fill up by the sculptors of that time are of the rudest, as tempo, sono goffissime; Come sono alcune storiette di figure
also are certain small groups with little figures in marble below piccole di marmo sotto i tondi, & il basamento da pie, doue
the medallions and the lowest base wherein there are certain sono alcune Vittorie. Et fra gli Archi dalle bande certi fiumi,
victories and certain rivers between the arches at the sides, che sono molto goffi. & si fatti, che si puo credere
which are very rude and so made that it can be believed most fermamente, che insino allora, I'Arte della Scultura haueua
surely that by that time the art of sculpture had begun to lose cominciato a perdere del buono. Et non dimeno non erano
something of the good. And there had not yet come the Goths ancora venuti i Gotti, & 1'altre nazioni barbare, & straniere,
and the other barbarous and outlandish peoples who destroyed, che distrussono insieme con 1'Italia tutte FArti migliori.
together with Italy, all the finer arts, [pp.33-34] Onde ne vennero a risorgere nuoui Architetti, che delle loro
(Architecture suffered less harm. pp. 34-44) barbare nazioni fecero il modo di quella maniera di edifizi,
3) Wherefore there came to arise new architects, who brought c'hoggi da noi son chiamati Tedeschi, iquali faceuano
from their barbarous races the method of that manner of alcune cose piu tosto a noi modemi ridicole, che a loro
buildings that are called by us today German; and they made lodeuoli; ... pur di maniera barbara, & piu tosto ricchi, &
some that are rather a source of laughter for us modems than grandi, che bene intesi, o di buona architettura.
creditable to them, ... all in a barbarous manner, and rather rich Perche essendo in quelle guerre morti gl 'eccellenti primi
and vast than •well-conceived or of good architecture, [p. 40] artefici, come si e detto, al rimanente di que'Greci vecchi. &
4) For since the excellent early craftsmen had been killed in non antichi altro no era rimaso, che le prime linee in vn
these wars, as has been said, to the remainder of these Greeks, campo di colore: come di cio fanno fede hoggidi infiniti
old but not ancient, there had been left nothing but elementary musaici, che per tutta Italia lauorati da essi greci si veggono
outlines on a ground of colour: and to this at the present day pei' ogni vecchia chiesa di qual si voglia citta d'ltalia, &
witness is borne by an infinity of mosaics, which, wrought massimamente nel duomo di Pisa, in San Marco di Vinegia,
throughout all Italy by these Greeks, are to be seen in every old
church in any city whatsoever of Italy, and above all in the

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Giorgio Vasari. Lives of the most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, 1550 & 1568

Duomo of Pisa, in S. Marco at Venice, and in other places as & ancora in altri luoghi, & cosi molte pitture, continouando
well, and so, too, they kept making many pictures in that feccro di quella maniera con occhi spiritati. & mam apcrtc in
manner, with eyes staring, hands outstretched, and standing on punta di piedi. come si vede ancora in S. Miniato fuor di
tiptoe, as may still be seen in S. Miniato without Florence, ... Fiorenza, ... doue hanno per mensole certe figure per regger
wherein they have certain figures for corbels to support the il tetto, cosi goffe. & siree. & tanto malfatte. di grossezza. &
roof, so rude and vile, so misshapen, and of such a grossness of di maniera. che par' impossibile. che imaginare peggio si
manner, that it appears impossible that worse could be poi:esse.
imagined, [pp. 45-46]

PREFACETO THE SECONDPART SECONDAPARTEPROEMIO

1) WHEN first I undertook to write these Lives, it was not mv


Qvando io presi primieramente a descriuere queste vite; Non
intention to make a list of the craftsmen, and an inventory, so to
fu mia intenzione. fare vna nota delli Artefici. & vno
speak, of their works, nor did I ever judge it a worthy end for
inuentario. diro cosi, delFopere loro...
these my labours... [pp. 245]
... Perla qualcosa hauendo io presa a scriuer la istoria de
... having undertaken to write the history of the most noble nobilissimi Artefici, per giouir all'arti quanto patiscono le
craftsmen in order to assist the arts in so far as my powers forze mie; & appreso o per honorarle ... mi sono ingegnato
permit, and besides that to honour them, ... I have striven not only non solo di dire quel che hanno fatto, ma di scegliere ancora
to say what these craftsmen have done, but also, in treating of discorredo il meglio da'l buono: & rottimo da'l migliore. &
them, to distinguish the better from the good and the best from the nor.are. vn poco diligentemente i modi, le arie. le maniere. i
better, and to note with no small diligence the methods, the tratti. & le fantasie de' Pittori, & degli Scultori.
feeling, the manners [styles], the characteristics. and the fantasies
of the painters and sculptors... [p. 246]
[Describes the three styles in sculpture and painting outlined by Pliny.}
The First Age La Prima Eta
2) Thus it is seen that the Greek manner, first through the Cosi si vede che la maniera Greca, prima co'l principio di
beginning made by Cimabue, and then with the aid of Giotto, Cimabue, poi con 1'aiuto di Giotto, si spense in tutto: & ne
was wholly extinguished; and there arose a new one, which I nacque vna nuoua la quale io Volentieri chiamo maniera di
would fain call the manner of Giotto ... Giotto, in particular, Giotto...
gave better attitudes to his figures, and revealed the first effort Et Giotto in particolare fece migliori attitudini alle sue
to give a certain liveliness to the heads and folds to his figure; & mostro qualche principio di dare vna viuezza alle
draperies, which drew more towards nature than those of the teste. & piego i panni che traeuano piu alia natura, che non
men before him; and he discovered, in part, something of the quegli innanzi: & scoperse in parte qualcosa de lo sfuggire,
gradation and foreshortening of figures. Besides this, he made & scortare le figure. Oltre a questo egli diede principio a gli
a beginning with the expression of emotions, so that fear, hope, affetti che si conoscesse in parte il timore, la speranza, Fira,
rage, and love could in some sort be recognized; and he & lo amore. Et ridusse a vna morbidezza la sua maniera, che
reduced his manner [style], which at first was harsh and rough, prima era, & ruuida, & scabrosa; & se non fece gli occhi con
to a certain degree of softness: and although he did not make quel bel girare, che sa il viuo: & con la fine de suoi
the eyes with that beautiful roundness that makes them lifelike, lagrimatoi; et i capegli morbidi; & le barbe piumose; & le
and with the tear-channels that complete them, and the hair mani con quelle sue nodature, & muscoli; et gli ingnudi
soft, and the beards feathery, and the hands xvith their due come il vero; scusilo la difficulta dell'arte. et il non hauer
joints and muscles, and the nudes true to life, let him find visto pittori migliori di lui. Et pigli ogniuno in quella
excuse in the difficulty' of the art and in the fact that he saw no pouerta dell'arte, & de tempi, la bonta del giudizio nelle sue
better painters than himself: and let all remember, amid the istorie; Fosseruanza dell'arie, e Fobedienzia di vna naturale
poverty of art in those times, the excellence of judgment in his molto facile, perche pur si vede, che le figure obbediuano, a
stories, the observation of feeling, and the subordination of a quul che elle haueuano a fare.
very ready natural gift, seeing that his figures were subordinate
to the part that they had to play. [p. 250] Ma, chi considerara la qualita di que' tempi, la carestia de
gli Artefici, la difficulta de' buoni aiuti; le terra non belle,
3) But whosoever considers the character of those tunes, the come ho detto io, ma miracolose: & hara piacere infmito di
dearth of craftsmen and the difficulty of finding good vedere i primi principij, & quelle scintille di buono\ che
assistance, will hold them [the artificers of the first age] not nelle pitture, e sculture cominciauono a risuscitare.
merely beautiful, as I have called them, but miraculous, and La Seconda Eta
will take infinite pleasure in seeing the first beginnings and
those sparks of excellence that began to be rekindled in Perche prima con 16 studio, & con la diligenza del gran
painting and sculpture, [p. 251] Filippo Brunelleschi FArchitettura ritrouo le misure, & le
The Second Age
4) Wherefore, with the study and the diligence of the great
Filippo Brunelleschi, architecture first recovered the measures
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Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the, most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, 1550 & 1568

and proportions of the ancients... [p. 252] proporzioni degli antichi


5) ... that new manner, as it will be seen in this Second Part, che in quella rinouazione della maniera si lauorarono; come
among which the figures of Jacopo della Qriercia have more si vedra in questa seconda parte doue le figure di lacopo
movement, more grace, more design, and more diligence... But deHa Quercia Sanese, hanno piu moto: & piu grazia. et piu
the greatest advance came from Lorenzo Ghiberti in the work disegno. et diligenza... Ma piu vi aggiunse Lorenzo
of the gates of S. Giovanni, wherein he showed such invention. Ghiberti nell'opera delle porte di S. Giouanni doue mostro
order, manner, and design, that his figures appear to move and inuenzione. ordine. maniera. et disignio. che par, che le sue
to have souls. But as for Donato, although he lived in their figure si muouino, & habbiano Fanima. Ma non mi risoluo
time, / am not -wholly sure whether I ought not to place him in in tutto: ancora, che fussi ne lor tempi. Donato, se io me lo
the third age, seeing that his works challenge comparison with voglia metier fra i terzi, restando 1'opre sua a paragone degli
the good works of the ancients; but this I will say, that he can antichi buoni, diro bene, che in questa parte si puo chiamar
be called the pattern of the others in this second age, having lui regola gli altri, per hauer in se solo le parti tutte che a
united in his own self all the qualities that were divided singly una a una erano sparte in molti: poi, che e ridusse in moto le
among many, for he brought his figures to actual motion, sue figure dando loro vna certa viuacita, e prontezza; che
giving them such vivacity and liveliness that they can stand posson stare, e con le cose moderne, & come io dissi, con le
beside the works of to-day, and, as I have said, beside the antiche medesimamente.
ancient as well. [pp. 253-54] Et il medesimo augumento fece in questo tempo la pittura,
6) The same advance was made at this time by painting, from de laquale rEccellentissimo Masaccio leuo in tutto la
which that most excellent Masaccio swept away completely maniera di Giotto, nelle teste. ne' panni. ne' casamenti. negli
the manner of Giotto in the heads, the draperies, the buildings. ingniudi. nel colorito. negli scorti. che egli rinouo, & messe
the nudes, the colouring, and the foreshortenings. all of which in luce quella maniera modema, che fu in que'tempi, e sino
he made new, bringing to light that modern manner which was a hoggi, e da tutti i nostri Artefici seguitata: e di tempo in
followed in those times and has been followed up to our own tempo con miglior grazia, inuenzione, ornament!,...
day by all our craftsmen, and enriched and embellished from Et poi, che ho eletto lacopo sopradetto per honorato
time to time with better grace, invention, and ornament... [p. principle di questa seconda parte, seguitando Fordine delle
254] maniere, verro aprendo sempre colle vite medesime, la
7) Having chosen the aforesaid Jacopo for the honour of dificulta di si belle, dificili, & honorarissime Arti.
beginning this Second Part, I will follow the order of the
various manners' and proceed to lay open, together with the
Lives themselves, the difficulties of arts so beautiful, so
difficult, and so highly honoured, [p. 255]

PRE FA CETO TH E TH IRDPA RT TERZAPARTE. PROEM IO


.

1) Truly great was the advancement conferred on the arts of Veramente grande augumento fecero alle Arti della
architecture, painting, and sculpture by those excellent masters Architettura, Pittura, & Scultura quelli eccellenti Maestri,
of whom we have written hitherto, in the Second Part of these che noi habbiamo descritti sin qui, nella Seconda Parte di
Lives, for to the achievements of the early masters they added queste Vite; Aggiugnendo alle cose de' primi, Regola.
rule, order, proportion, draughtsmanship. and [style]: not, in Ordine. Mi sura. Disegno. & Maniera'. se non in tutto
deed, in complete perfection... [p.617] perfettamente...
2) Now although the masters of the second a ge improved our Ma se bene i secondi agomentarono grandemente a queste
arts greatly with regard to all the qualities mentioned above, yet arti tutte le cose dette di sopra, elle non erano pero tanto
these were not made by them so perfect as to succeed in perfette, che elle finissimo di aggiugnere all'intero della
attaining to complete perfection, for there was wanting in their perfezzione. Mancandoci ancora nella REGOLA, vna
RULE a certain freedom which, without being of the rule, licenzia, che non essendo di regola, fosse ordinata nella
might be directed by the rule and might be able to exist without regola; & potesse stare senza fare confusione, o guastare
causing confusion or spoiling the order; which ORDER had L'ORDINE. ILQUALE haueua bisogno d'vna inuenzione
need of an invention abundant in every respect, and of a certain copiosa di tutte le cose, & d'vna certa bellezza continuata in
beauty maintained in every least detail, so as to reveal all that ogni minima cosa, che mostrasse tutto quell'ordine con piu
order with more adornment. In PROPORTION there was ornamento. Nelle MISURE mancaua vno retto giudizio, che
wanting a certain correctness of judgment, by means of which senza. che le figure fussino misurate. hauessero in quelle
their figures, without having been measured, might have, in grandezze, ch'elle eran fatte, vna grazia, che eccedesse la
due relation to their dimensions, a grace exceeding misura. Nel DISEGNO non v'erano gli estremi del fine suo,
measurement. In their DRAWING there was not the perfection perche se bene e faceuano vn braccio tondo, & vna gamba
of finish, because, although they made an ami round and a leg diritta; non era ricerca con muscoli con quella facilita
straight, the muscles in these were not revealed with that sweet graziosa, & dolce. che apparisce fral uedi. & non vedi:
and facile grace which hovers midway between the seen and come fanno la came, & le cose viue: Ma elle erano crude, &
the unseen, as is the case with the flesh of living figures; nay, scorticate, che faceua difficolta a gli occhi, & durezza nella
they -were crude and excoriated, which made them displeasing maniera.
to the eye and gave hardness to the manner, [p. 618]
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Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the most Excellent Painters. Sculptors and Architects, 1550 & 1568

3) After them, indeed, their successors were enabled to attain to Bene lo trouaron poi dopo [Page [36]] loro gli altri, nel
it through seeing excavated oul of the cartli certain antiquities veaer cauar ruora dl terra cette anticaglle, cltate da Fllnlo
cited by Pliny as amongst the most famous, such as the delle piu famose il Lacoonte, 1'Hercole, & il Torso grosso
Laocoon, the Hercules, the Great Torso of the Belvedere, di Bel Vedere, cosi la Venere, la Cleopatra, lo Apollo, &
and likewise the Venus, the Cleopatra, the Apollo, and an infinite altre le quali nella lor dolcezza, & nelle lor'asprezze
endless number of others, which, both with their sweetness and con termini camosi, & cauati dalle maggior bellezze del
their severity, with their fleshy roundness copied from the uiuo; con certi atti, che non in tutto si storcono, ma si vanno
greatest beauties of nature, and with certain attitudes which in eerte parti mouendo, & si mostrano con vna graziosissima
involve no distortion of the whole figure but only a movement grazia. Et furono cagione di leuar via vna certa maniera
of certain parts, and are revealed -with a most perfect grace, secca, & cruda, & tagliente...
brought about the disappearance of a certain dryness, hardness, Et i popoli nel vederla, corsero, come matti a questa bellezza
and sharpness of manner... [p. 619] nuoua, & piu viua: Parendo loro assolutamente, che e'non si
4)... people ran like madmen to this new and more lifelike por.esse giamai far meglio. Ma lo errore di costoro
beauty, for it seemed to them quite certain that nothing better diraostrarono poi chiaramente le opere di Lionardo da
could ever be done. But their error was afterwards clearly Vinci, il quale dando principio a quella terza maniera, che
proved by the works of Leonardo da Vinci, who, giving a noi vogliamo chiamare la moderna, oltra la gagliardezza. &
beginning to that third manner which -we propose to call the brauezza del DISEGNO, & oltra il cotraffare
modern - besides the force and boldness of his DRAWING, sottilissimamente tutte le minuzie della natura cosi a punto,
and the extreme subtlety wherewith he counterfeited all the come elle sono; con buona regola; miglior ordine; retta
minutenesses of nature exactly as they are -with good rule, misura, disegno perfetto, & grazia diuina; abbondantissimo
better order, right proportion, perfect drawing, and divine di copie, & profondissimo di Arte; dette veramente alle sue
grace, abounding in resources and having a most profound figure il moto, & il fiato.
knowledge of art, may be truly said to have endowed his Ma piu di tutti il graziosissimo Raffaello da Vrbino, il
figures with motion and breath, [p.620]
quale studiando le fatiche de' Maestri vecchi, & quelle de'
5) But more than all did the most gracious Rafael of Urbino, modemi: prese da tutti il meglio; & fattone raccolta, arrichi
who, studying the labours of the old masters and those of the FArte della Pittura di quella intera perfezzione, che hebbero
modem, took the best from them, and, having gathered it anticamente le figure d'Apelle, & di Zeusi, & piu, se si
together, enriched the art of painting with that complete potesse dire, o mostrare 1'opere di quelli a questo paragone.
perfection which was shown in ancient times by the figures of La onde la natura restd uinta da i suoi colon, & Finuezione
Apelles and Zeuxis; nay. even more, if we may make bold to era in lui si facile, & propria quato puo giudicare chi vede le
say it, as might be proved if we could compare their works storie sue, le quali sono simili alii scritti...
with his. Wherefore nature was left vanquished by his colours;
and his invention was facile and peculiar to himself, as may be Ma quello, che fra i morti, & viui porta la palma, et trascede,
perceived by all who see his painted stories, which are as vivid & ricuopre tutti e il Diuino Michel' Agn. ilqual no solo tien
as writings... [p. 620] il principato di vna di queste arti. ma di tutte tre insieme.
Costui supera, & vince no solamete tutti costoro, c 'hano
6) But he who bears the palm from both the living and the quasi che vinto gia la natura, ma quelli stessi famosiss.
dead, transcending and eclipsing all others, is the divine antichi, che si lodatamete fuor d'ogni dub bio la super arono'.
Michelangelo Buonarroti, who holds the sovereignty not & unico si triofa di quegli, di questi, et di lei: No
merely of one of these arts, but of all three together. This imaginadosi appena quella, cosa alcuna si strana, et tato
master surpasses and excels not only all those moderns who difficile; ch'egli c61a virtu del diuiniss. ingegno suo;
have almost vanquished nature, but even those most famous mediate Findustria, il disegno, 1'arte, il giudizio, et la grazia,
ancients who without a doubt did so gloriously surpass her, di gra luga no la trapassi. Et no solo nella Pittura,... ma
and in his own self he triumphs over modems, ancients, and nell'estrema rotodita ancora de' corpi: & co la puta del suo
nature, who could scarcely conceive anything so strange and so scarpello, ...hdno ancora data I'vltimo termine a queste tre
difficult that he would not be able, by the force of his most nobiliss. arti...
divine intellect and by means of his industry, draughtsman
ship, art, judgment, and grace, to excel it by a great measure;
and that not only in painting ... but also in the highest
perfection of bodies in the round, with the point of his chisel.
... they have also given the final form to these three most noble
arts. [p. 622]
7)

English quotations from Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Painters, The complete Italian text of Vasari's Lives (both 1550 &
Sculptors and Architects, trans. Gaston de Vere (1912; London: 1568 editions) can be downloaded free from:
Everyman's Library, 1996). http://www.liberlibcr.it/biblioteca/v/vasari/index.htm
* Translated and published separately as Giorgio Vasari, For Pliny the Elder, Natural History, chs 34 on bronze
Vasari on Technique, trans. Louisa S. Maclehose (1907; New sculptors, 35 on painters, 36 on sculptors in stone, see
York: Dover, 1960). www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/collections Greek & Roman.