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Happy Birthday Giorgio Vasari!



By Jennifer Killingsworth-Baker,  Curatorial Intern

On this day in 1511, the Renaissance master Giorgio Vasari was born.

Giorgio Vasari (Italian, 1511 - 1574), The Holy Family with the Infant, St. John, the Baptist, c. 1540, oil on panel, 42 ¾ x 32 1/8 in., Museum purchase with Council funds, AP.1989.3.1.

One of Italy’s busiest and most influential Mannerist artists, Giorgio Vasari’s reputation as a biographer has eclipsed his artistic fame.  In 1550 he published his Lives of the Most Imminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, which included biographies of many painters from Vasari’s own time and earlier. His humanist education combined with artistic talent earned him patronage by the powerful Medici family.  He studied in Florence under Michelangelo Buonarroti and Andrea del Sarto.

A gifted architect, Vasari designed Florence’s Uffizi, then the offices for the Medici’s business interests and today one of the world’s most foremost art museums.  His Mannerist style was intellectual, linear, and sophisticated, and is apparent in his 1540 painting The Holy Family with the Infant, St. John, the Baptist, with its bright colors, asymmetrical composition and exaggerated scale.

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