Following the restoration of a series of letters addressed to Vasari from Michelangelo and the digitalization of the whole Vasari archive, the exhibition Michelangelo and Vasari opened two days ago in Florence, at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi. It will be on view through 24 July 2016.

The exhibitions explores the extensiveness of Giorgio Vasari’s network, which included scholars such as Paolo Giovio, Vincenzo Borghini, Pietro Bembo, and Pietro Aretino. Special attention is given to Cosimo I de’ Medici, Vasari’s most notable patron of the arts. The duke was in fact the dedicatee of the Vite, whose genesis and history are documented in the exhibition. Both editions of the text (published respectively in 1550 and 1568) culminate with the account of the life of Michelangelo Buonarroti. His achievements in painting, sculture, and architecture are indeed considered unparalleled by Vasari.

During the 1550s Michelangelo, in Rome, often wrote to “his dear friend Giorgio”, in Florence. The letters on display show the upside downs the old artist had to go through in this decade, such as the birth of his niece, the death of his beloved assistant Urbino, the impossibility to return to Florence, the mistakes made as architect of Saint Peters’. In these letters we can also find three autograph sonnets by Michelangelo, among his most famous poems.

Posted by Martina Bollini

A selection of images from the exhibition courtesy of Davis & Franceschini.

Jacopino del Conte, Portrait of Michelangelo Buonarroti, c. 1535, Casa Buonarroti, Florence.

Giorgio Vasari, Self-portrait, 1566-1568, Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

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