Giorgio Vasari, 1511-1574, Renaissance painter and art historian. Vasari is the author of Lives of the Painters, a work which helped to define the consciousness of painters of the time as to what they were doing, and which is a key source for modern understanding of Renaissance art. A man of his time, he believed that art is imitation. "Painting," he writes, "is just the imitation of all the living things of nature with their colors and designs just as they are in nature." Consistently with this view, he judged the progress of Renaissance art by the increasing skill of painters and sculptors in representing nature accurately. The critic and philosopher of art Arthur Danto has credited Vasari with inventing art history, "in the sense at least that he saw art as an unfolding progressive narrative" (Danto, After the End of Art. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1997, p. 109). Here are some links, the first to a site about his book, his life, and the painters, sculptors and architects that he wrote about, and the second to text files including most of the Lives of the Painters. As well as telling you about Vasari, they serve as a great introduction to Renaissance art:

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