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The Lives of the Painters, Sculptors & Architects, Vol. 1

Giorgio Vasari

Book Overview: 

The Lives of the Most Excellent Italian Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, from Cimabue to Our Times, or Le Vite delle più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori, as it was originally known in Italian, is a series of artist biographies written by 16th century Italian painter and architect Giorgio Vasari, which is considered "perhaps the most famous, and even today the most- read work of the older literature of art", "some of the Italian Renaissance's most influential writing on art", and "one of the founding texts in art history". Vasari's work has been described as "by far the most influential single text for the history of Renaissance art" and "the most important work of Renaissance biography of artists". Its influence is situated mainly in three domains: as an example for contemporary and later biographers and art historians, as a defining factor in the view on the Renaissance and the role of Florence and Rome in it, and as a major source of information on the lives and works of early Italian artists. (Summary by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .St Stephen, after the designs of Giorgio Vasari, Aretine painter and architect, who has done his best with the old walls, to adapt them to the modern style. Niccola designed many other palaces and churches at Pisa, and he was the first, after the loss of good methods of construction, who introduced the founding of buildings at Pisa upon pillars connected by arches, first driving piles in under the pillars. This method renders the building absolutely secure, as is shown by experience, whereas without the piles, the foundations are liable to give way, causing the walls to fall down. The church of S. Michele in Borgo of the monks of Gamaldoli was also built after his plans. But the most beautiful, ingenious and fanciful piece of architecture that Niccola ever constructed was the campanile of S. Niccola at Pisa, where the friars of St Augustine are. Outside it is octagonal, but the interior is round with a winding staircase rising to the top leaving the middle space void li. . . Read More