Giorgio Vasari, Florentine painter and architect, friend of Michelangelo and intimate of the Medici, is best known for his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, published in 1550 and in an enlarged edition in 1568. With more than two hundred biographies, it has for centuries been recognized as a seminal text in art history and one of the most important sources on the Italian Renaissance.
It is to Vasari that we owe much of our knowledge of Raphael (1483–1520), who in his day was considered perhaps the greatest painter of all time. Rich in colorful anecdotes, The Life of Raphael is important for its sustained attention to the range of Raphael’s art, whose chronology and development Vasari describes in detail, together with the painter’s ample love life and spectacular social career. It also pays attention, unprecedented for its time, to theoretical issues.
This edition, introduced by the scholar Jill Burke, includes thirty pages of color illustrations covering the entire span of Raphael’s oeuvre.