After Vasari, as in storied or mannered thereafter

And After Vasari, as in so many moons since

Giorgio Vasari, Saint Luke Painting the Virgin, fresco, SS. Annunziata, Florence, after 1565.

Giorgio Vasari was a sixteenth-century Italian painter whose greatest legacy is The Lives of the Artists, a collection of writings about Renaissance artists, their styles, their lives and their works. He considered the High Renaissance to be “art’s rebirth” and a “state of perfection,”* and he channeled his enthusiasm for the period’s artists, some of them his contemporaries and collaborators, into his then somewhat groundbreaking and by now timeless tome.

With a similar spirit of inquiry, part of this blog — quite likely the most significant part over time — will be devoted to write-ups of individual artists. Neither merely biographical nor formally superficial, these entries will be focused primarily on current bodies of work, on materials artists use, on themes and ideas explored, on observations both formal and at least subtly analytical.

Our intent is to meaningfully dig into work, not to tear into and vivisect artists. With the dual vision of academics and creatives, our sympathies generally lie on the side of artists and their practices and the works that result, and these artist-specific writings will typically follow a studio visit or two and feature a photo or two.

Standard, perhaps. Simple, for sure. We’re not claiming to do anything momentous or paradigm-shifting.

Vasari has been gone for quite some time, after all.

Alice Lynn McMichael  is a PhD candidate in Byzantine art history. As such, she takes issue with Vasari’s comment that Byzantine art was “awkward” in style. She has a BFA in graphic design and worked as an art director in magazines before her transition into writing about art. Her travel photographs were recently exhibited in Centotto’s Nautical Notes: Mari, Navi e Naufragi show, and she also blogs at 34 Encounters: Art, Travel, and the Middle Ages.

Paul D’Agostino holds a PhD in Italian Literature. As an artist and writer, he feels a certain kinship with Vasari, though he will forever wish that the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio, in Florence, were adorned with dramatically bellicose paintings by Michelangelo and Leonardo, as it was supposed to be, rather than festooned with frescoes by Vasari. D’Agostino writes in and translates among a number of languages, primarily Italian, German, French, Spanish and English, and he is Assistant Editor of Journal of Italian Translation and Art Editor at The L Magazine. He also curates art exhibits at Centotto, otherwise known as the living room of his Bushwick loft, where he often gives at least decent haircuts for a song.

Contact us at aftervasari@gmail.com.


*Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Artists, trans. Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991).