Giorgio Vasari died on 27 June 1574 in Florence.

By Anne Leader and Ioannis Tzortzakakis

Giorgio Vasari died on 27 June 1574 in Florence. The painter, architect, collector, and influential author was born on 30 July 1511 in Arezzo. Acclaimed for his work in the service of Grand Duke Cosimo I de’Medici (1519 – 1574), Vasari is better known for his invaluable volume of selected biographies, Le vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori (Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects).

Often referred to simply as the Vite or Lives of Artists, the book was dedicated to his friend and patron, the Grand Duke, and it chronicled the evolution of Italy’s art from Cimabue through the greatest artists to Vasari himself. The text was divided into three distinct periods, which still today impact the way in which we still approach Renaissance art and beyond. The same book had two editions in his lifetime, the Torrentiniana of 1550 and the Giuntina of 1568.  

The corpus of his published work also includes a second book Ragionamenti del sig. cavaliere Giorgio Vasari, pittore et architetto aretino, sopra le inuentioni da lui dipinte in Firenze nel palazzo di Loro Altezze serenissime (Reasoning of signor cavalier Giorgio Vasari, painter and architect from Arezzo over the Inventions which he depicted in Florence in the Palazzo Vecchio), which appeared from Vasari’s hand, yet after his death in 1588, a book – catalogue of the allegorical compositions in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence.

Further reading:

David J. Cast (ed.) (2014) The Ashgate Research Companion to Giorgio Vasari, London: Ashgate Publishing.

Patricia Lee Rubin (1995) Giorgio Vasari: Art and History, Yale University Press.

The Giorgio Vasari Project: A resources collection, A user-generated content project.


Self-Portrait, 1550-67, Oil on canvas, 101 x 80 cm, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Martyrdom of St Stephen, 1560s, Oil on canvas, 300 x 163 cm, Pinacoteca, Vatican

Perseus and Andromeda, 1570-72, Oil on slate, 117 x 100 cm, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

Paul III Farnese Directing the Continuance of St Peter’s, 1546, Fresco, Palazzo della Cancellaria, Rome

The Birth of Venus, 1550s, Fresco, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

The Studio of the Painter, c. 1563, Fresco, Casa Vasari, Florence

Façade on the Lungarno, 1560, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Palazzo delle Logge, 1573, Arezzo

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