Book review of the life of Giorgio Vasari's Life of the artists translated by George Bull

Essay by crazyfishUniversity, Bachelor's December 2003

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Giorgio Vasari

Lives of the Artists translated by George Bull

Life of Pietro Perugino.

"How Beneficial poverty may sometimes be to the talented people and great its power to make them perfect or outstanding in one capacity or another." (BULL 86)

So begins the life of Pietro Perugino born Pietro di Cristoforo Vanucci as written by Vasari. In fact he dedicates the next two pages writing in the same vein. Vasari's writing at length on the subject gives one the impression that hard endeavor was something he vigorously approved of.Vasari was a prolific artist himself and therefore of an industrious nature. He quotes Perugino as always saying "that after bad weather there has to be good." (1) It could almost reflect the preaching of the Church, live your life the best you can according to the good book and all your hardships will be rewarded in heaven.

Vasari claims that according to popular report, Perugino was born in Perugia by a poor person.

However records show this to be incorrect. Pietro was born into a wealthy family from the Citta del Pieve a small town in the territory of Perugia. Records show Perugino returning to his home town to pay a wine tax after the death of his father in 1469. (Garibaldi 4)

It is fortunate for Perugino that he made his way to Florence, sometime around 1463 -he finished his apprentiship in 1472 which the guild of apothecarys' who artists belonged to required to last nine years-otherwise he may not have made it into Vasari's 'lives' at all. When Vasari wrote his lives he was concerned mainly with Florentine artists. Indeed in his second edition of the 'Lives' Vasari wrote one hundred and fifty three lives, although in some he included more than one artist. Of these...