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Journal > Volumes > 44 (2013) / 4 (Winter)
Vasari and the Etruscan Manner
Caroline Hillard
Wright State University

The expansive literature on Giorgio Vasari (1511–74) has paid little notice to his views on the ancient Etruscans. Yet Vasari was the first author to establish a canon of Etruscan style and to apply his criteria to the analysis of an Etruscan object. His passages on the Etruscans are, therefore, a landmark in the history of art historical method. This paper considers Vasari’s notion of the Etruscan style as developed in the Vite (1550 and 1568) and the Ragionamenti (1557–58) and its significance in Florentine culture under Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici (r. 1537–74). An analysis of his texts, including an often-overlooked section by Giovambattista Adriani, reveals that Vasari’s formulation of Etruscan style was part of a strategy to proclaim Tuscany the birthplace of the arts of disegno. Vasari’s achievement thus depended less on his experience with Etruscan objects than on his broader agenda to promote Tuscan artists.

Pages: 1 021 - 1 040