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Book received: Giorgio Vasari and the Birth of the Museum

13 April 2014

Edited by Maia Wellington Gahtan, Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici (Marist-LdM), Italy

Giorgio Vasari and the Birth of the Museum offers the first dedicated and comprehensive study of Vasari’s original contributions to the making of museums, addressing the subject from the full range of aspects – collecting, installation, conceptual-historical – in which his influence is strongly felt. Uniting specialists of Giorgio Vasari with scholars of historical museology, this collection of essays presents a cross-disciplinary overview of Vasari’s approaches to the collecting and display of art, artifacts and memorabilia. Although the main focus of the book is on the mid-late 16th century, contributors also bring to light that Vasari’s museology enjoyed a substantial afterlife well into the modern museum era. This volume is a fundamental addition to the museum studies literature and a welcome enhancement to the scholarly industry on Giorgio Vasari.

Contents: Preface; Introduction: Giorgio Vasari and the birth of the museum, Maia Wellington Gahtan; Part I Vasari’s Collections: Decorations and collections in Vasari’s houses in Arezzo and Florence, Alessandro Cecchi; Giorgio Vasari and the Libro de’ disegni: a paper museum or portable gallery, Anna Forlani Tempesti; Giorgio Vasari, collector of epitaphs, Maia Wellington Gahtan. Part II Vasari and Illustrium Imagines: Giorgio Vasari, Paolo Giovio, portrait collections and the rhetorics of images, Nadia Cannata; Vasari, Borghini and Cristofano dell’Altissimo: the papal portraits in the Sala delle Carte Geografiche, Rick Scorza; Portrait galleries, artists’ biographies and the birth of academies and museums, Tommaso Casini. Part III Vasari’s Exhibitions: Vasari, exhibitor of art: Medici collections of antiquities, Andrea Gáldy; Giorgio Vasari, Rome and early forms of display of Medici collections in Florence: models and afterlife, Donatella Pegazzano; The order, the itinerary, the beholder: considerations on some aspects of the Ragionamenti del Sig. Cavalier Giogio Vasari, Emilie Passignat; Virtual guided museum tours: Vasari’s I Ragionamenti and Bartoli’s Ragionamenti accademici, Henk Th. van Veen; Giorgio Vasari, architect: the Uffizi of the gallery, Claudia Conforti. Part IV Vasari’s Museological Concepts and Their Afterlife: The Accademia del Designo and its museology, Luigi Zangheri; Paper museums and the multimedia practice of art history: the case of Stefano Mulinari’s Istoria Pratica (1778-80) in the Uffizi, Ingrid R. Vermeulen; Vasari: the territory beyond, Elizabeth Pilliod; Bibliography; Index.

About the Editor: Maia Wellington Gahtan is Program Director, MA Museum Studies at the Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici, Florence, Italy.
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