Analysis Of Vasari 's ' The Multivalent Themes And Leitmotifs With Which Vasari Regales '

1751 WordsJan 10, 20168 Pages
“The multivalent themes and leitmotifs with which Vasari regales his readers - the major and minor artists, the diligent and the delinquent, the inventive and imitative, the mentors and apprentices, the fathers and sons, and the mothers, wives and daughters - bring the history of Italian Renaissance art to life in his monumental text.” In order for us to understand the purpose of the preface pages, it is important first to consider the purpose of Vasari’s text as a whole. Vasari was himself a notable artist and architect, however he made it his eventual duty to recognise the importance of artists in the historical timeline. More significantly, he would endeavour “to distinguish between the good, the better and the best” and how their stylistic methods are indicative of an artist’s ability. In his prefaces he relays to his readers the immense body of work he tasked himself with, how artists were gifted or strived for their art, were innovators or followers, and how their perception as craftsmen or academics changed, all this in an attempt to educate those who wanted to learn about the story of art. Vasari divides his Vite into three parts spanning a period from Cimabue’s trecento Italo-byzantine style to his present day cinquecento where he places particular emphasis on Michelangelo. In this time we can observe a shift from a spiritual almost detached emotion to something more aesthetically substantial, something Vasari surmises as finally reaching “the summit of perfection.”

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