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Vasari's Rinascita: History, Anthropology Or Art Criticism?

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Chapter Summary

In a classic essay on the Renaissance, August Buck stressed that Giorgio Vasari was the first to apply the tripartite notion of history developed by the Renaissance to a continuous historical process, the history of European art'. This chapter addresses one of the points raised by Hopes thesis: can the term rinascita be separated so neatly from the fabric of the Lives? Is there just one concept of rebirth, or should we account for a wider variety of instances of rebirth? A central contention of the chapter is that art history cannot be separated from art criticism in the Lives. To address these questions it is necessary to take a closer look at Vasaris biographical stance. After investigating the nature of Vasaris biography, the chapter returns to the concept of rinascita and relate it to how Vasari deals with the Middle Ages.

Keywords: art criticism; Giorgio Vasari; Lives; Renaissance; rinascita



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