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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 14 April 2009
I bought this to help with a talk I am giving on the Florentine Renaissance. I am finding the book really interesting as it provides insights into the masters way of life. It is very humorous at times and 'chatty' which helps bring things to life and provide useful anecdotes. He obviously adored Michelangelo. The section on Giotto was the most surprising as I really felt that I knew him and really liked him not only as an artist but as a human being by the time I was finished. Although no doubt there are many instances where the truth may be slightly different it is a fascinating read.
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on 27 April 2002
This book will appeal to either the history of art student or someone interested in Renaissance writings. A very useful book in that it offers a chance to see what a Mannerist artist thought about his contemporaries. It provides information on the fashions of the time and even insights into the very character of the artist, including some highly amusing stories and occasionally very biased points of view! If you can put a quote in an essay or exam then you will definately stand out as a good candidate.
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on 1 February 2009
Excellent character descriptions of such masters, providing a picture of the man, the artist, how they lived their daily lives,how their work developed, who & what influenced them & how they saw their world.
However I did find the listings of each artists' known works rather tedious.
Am now approaching the best - Leonardo!
What hardships they suffered to achieve such genius!
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on 1 August 2010
A must for anyone interested in the art of the Renaissance but should be read with a healthy dash of scepticism for the truth of anecdotal information. Very biased but good way of hearing the voice of a man who was very influential in shaping later opinion on the art history of the time and who, despite being a Michelangelo groupie, did at least know the man. Vasari's opinionated version of the 'lives' of the artists should be read in conjunction with later versions for anyone interested in what has been deduced from subsequent scholarship and it is of course a one volume version but well worth a read. This work is Vasari's lasting legacy - apart from designing the Ufizzi of course.
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on 14 May 2016
This book, was written in the 15th century, and help coin the term 'renaissance'
It's written by a well known, less important artist, about all the famous artists in Italy at the time,
If intuitive biographies about renaissance Italian artists is what you want? Then this is the best book for you...
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on 19 July 2011
I think the translator has done a very good job here and Vasari's charming mix of deference, child-like delight and gossip is brought very much to life. If I had the power to make my own edition of this work, I would use this translation, but make it an illustrated one. It doesn't seem possible to buy an illustrated version of this book at all today.
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on 10 February 2014
Lively..witty..a masterpiece by the most venerable Vasari who writes with a timeless spirit and paints portraits of the best artists with his words. Rare. I find him excellent 'company' - and it is in my opinion a must for all artists who want to be connected to the soul of the beauty of the ages. A terrific translation.
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on 9 October 2010
An excellent translation of Vasari giving a particular insight both into Vasari's biographies of the great artists but also to his theory of art - it may not be a contemporary theory but it is immensely interesting.
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This is a long, long book with a great deal of information. Clocking in at over five hundred pages and covering about thirty artists of the Italian Renaissance, it is fairly comprehensive and detailed.

Some of Vasari's 'facts' have been discredited over the years and so the reader should not take everything here as gospel and indeed should be using this as a supplementary text with other material to get the best use out of it. Nevertheless it remains an important contemporary text and one of the first books on 'art history' ever produced.

I have to admit that I found it extremely hard going. There are great long lists of works and their subjects and the patrons of artists which it is easy to get bored or confused by but there are some interesting snippets of humour and details of the artists lives and habits which can offer real illumination to what otherwise can be fairly dry.
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on 8 March 2012
The Lives of the Artists (Oxford World's Classics)
I had heard a lot about this book, during my art history classes on the Renaissance. Anyway, up till now I have only read the lives of Michelangelo, Tiziano and Leonardo da Vinci and while entertaining I have found several gross inaccuracies, such as: Albrecht Dürer the Flemish painter (German and much more than a painter); the German painters excelled at painting landscapes (where did that come from??); Leonardo died at seventy-five (67 if I can count). Also sometimes the same story is told in the first person and then later in the third person. I find this confusing, if not irritating. Anyhow I shall read the rest and maybe my opinion will be less harsh. Why was Correggio not included? One of the greater Renaissance painters. The choice of the two Bondanellas seems very arbitrary. I am still looking for a more complete version of The Lives .....
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