Giorgio Vasari (1511 – 1574) has passed into the History of Art precisely because he was one of the first historians of this matter, when he wrote his famous compendium ofLives of Artists in which he collected the biographies of painters and sculptors that he himself had known in the Italy of the Renaissance and the Mannerism. However, his creative work went further, as he worked as both an architect and a painter.
Nativity by Giorgio Vasari
In the first field, for example, he created the famousVasarian Corridorwhich runs along the top of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence and which today houses part of the art collection of theUffizi Gallery. While as a painter he made various works such as The Forge of Vulcan or several panels representingThe Nativity, like this one that we present today and which is in theGalleria Borghese from Rome.
This work was already highly praised in its time, and it was precisely because of the innovative night light that bathes the scene.Vasarihimself became his autobiographer, and in that writing he names a night nativity, but the truth is that he is known to have performed two. A first in 1546 for Cardinal Salviati and a later one painted for Pier Antonio Bandini in 1553, and current historians do not agree when deciding which one he refers to.
NoHowever, in the eyes of today's viewer, Vasari's painting is too artificial and has not withstood the passage of time and the evolution of taste very well. He is a painter ofmannerist style, since he always declared himself faithful following the “maniera” of painting ofMichelangelo. Although the truth is that he trained with other artists likeLuca SignorelliorAndrea del Sarto. In addition to the fact that he studied a lotRafael
Although, although his skill with brushes is undeniable. The truth is that he is not a top-tier artist. Perhaps he would be much less known without his architectural work, and especially without his literary legacy. And it is that his writings remain highly attractive even today.
he wrote in 1550 an early version ofLives of the most excellent Italian architects, painters and sculptors. And this expanded it considerably in the definitive version of 1568. In it, he not only recounts the biographies and specific episodes of the history of other creators, but also makes value judgments about the works of some of his contemporaries and others. past artists. Many of them are quite accurate and current judgments, although others are typical of his time, such as, for example, his qualification of decadent art when speaking of all the creations of the Middle Ages.