Vasari's Tuscan Masters

Sandro Botticelli, Madonna col Bambino, Collezione privata, Firenze (Coll. Luigi
Sandro Botticelli, Madonna col Bambino, Collezione privata, Firenze (Coll. Luigi Grassi, Firenze)

Daniel B. Gallagher reviews a fascinating exhibition, Il primato dei Toscani nelle ‘Vite’ del Vasari at the Basilica inferiore di San Francesco, Arezzo, on view through January 9, 2012.

Gallagher writes: "This exhibition in the lower Basilica of San Francesco in Arezzo includes sixty-five works by fifty-two of the greatest Tuscan painters and sculptors appearing in Vasari’s Lives. It retraces the evolution of art from Cimabue to Michelangelo as seen through the eyes of Vasari by employing the criteria he used to divide art history into different periods... This exhibition reminds us that Vasari, though he may have embellished his tale with invented detail, did not invent the history of art. It was there to be discovered.