Giorgio Vasari was born in 1511 at Arezzo in Tuscany. While still a boy he was introduced to Cardinal Silvio Passerini who put him to study in Florence with Michelangelo - who later became a close friend - then with Andrea del Sarto. He left Florence when his patron, Duke Alessandro, was assassinated, and wandered round Italy filling his notebooks with sketches; it was during this period that he conceived the idea of the Lives. By now, in his thirties, Vasari was a highly successful painter and when his Lives were published they were received enthusiastically.
He returned to Florence in 1555 to serve Duke Cosimo who appointed him architect of the Palazzo Vecchio. After a grand tour of Italian towns he published the revised and enlarged edition of his Lives in 1568. Vasari spent the rest of his life in a glow of self- satisfaction and public recognition, and in 1971 he was knighted by Pope Pius V. He died in 1574.