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Twenty hand-drawn and unpublished portraits in Giorgio Vasari’s ‘Lives’

8 November 2016

Twenty Hand-drawn and Unpublished Portraits in Giorgio Vasari’s ‘Lives’ (1550 and 1568 editions)

Giovanni Mazzaferro

As a result of a study conducted leafing through 85 exemplaries of Giorgio Vasari’s ‘Lives’ (1550 and 1568 editions) in Italy, USA, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Belgium and Spain the website ‘Letteratura artistica. Cross-cultural Studies in Art History Sources’ is now displaying about twenty rediscovered hand-made portraits drawn during the XVI and XVII centuries in the page of the books.

In his second edition of the ‘Lives’ (1568) Vasari presented 144 portraits of artists, but left eight of them blank because he didn’t know their aspect.

The reader will see the various ways in which later artists represented Correggio (the most important absence among the eight ovals), but also portraits of all new artists, not originally intended by the writer from Arezzo, such as the magnificent drawing of Pisanello, now preserved in a copy of the Passerini-Landi Library of Piacenza and copied from a medal of mid-1400 coined by Antonio Marescotti, now preserved at the National Gallery in Washington.

The drawings are available at

Reference / Quellennachweis:

WWW: New Art Historical Resources on the Web. In: H-ArtHist, Nov 8, 2016. <>.

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