The lives of the artists : a selection / Giorgio Vasari; translated by George Bull.
Harmondsworth : Penguin Books, 1965
In his life of Bernardino Pintoricchio, born Bernardino di Benedeto di Biagio,Vasari is quite dismissive of the artist's talents. He has inserted him into the second part of the "Lives" with the artists Vasari believed to be getting nearer to the perfection of nature but not quite there, other artists in part two include Botticelli, Donatello and Perugino. From his opening lines one might surmise Vasari had thought long and hard as to whether he should include Pintoricchio at all. Vasari commences his life of Pintoricchio with the comments "there are many who are helped by fortune and not endowed with much talent....and this is seen in the case of Pintoricchio of Perugia" (Bull 79) However Vasari whole book was written with the belief that artists from Florence were superior to any other, and as Pintoricchio seems not to have produced works in Florence it is with little surprise that we see Vasari giving little credence to the artists work.
Vasari gives the impression that Pintoricchio's success was only achieved through the collaboration of others, such as Pietro Perugino and Raphael. It is with Perugino that one can start to have doubts of Vasari's knowledge. He writes that Pintoricchio worked on many things in his youth with his 'master' Pietro of Perugia. To have a master would usually mean to have been an apprentice under him and worked in his bottega, a place of work. However an apprentice would usually enter at a very early age around ten. Vasari puts the age of Pintoricchio as 59 at the time of his death in 1513, which would give his date of birth as 1454. In Perugino's 'life'...