Who was Giorgio Vasari

Walk in the footsteps of Giorgio Vasari: painter, sculptor, architect and man of letters

We are a people of artists, saints and painters. The three gifts that have created immortal geniuses whose canvases are today coveted by collectors, loved by art lovers and a source of inspiration for the most romantic souls. One famous painter is Giorgio Vasari. He lived in the shadow of Michelangelo Buonarroti, of whom he was a great friend.


He was born in Arezzo, in beautiful Tuscany, in the early 1500s. The son of merchants. Despite being well-off, a different destiny was chosen for little Giorgio. Having great manual dexterity and an obvious talent for painting, it was decided to have him study fine arts in Florence at the workshop of: Andrea del Sarto and Baccio Bandinelli.

However, he was a pupil of other supreme geniuses of the artistic innovations that were born in this period such as: Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti, both his ‘countrymen’ in the sense that they were Tuscan.

He became a famous painter, there is no doubt about that, but he was also a great man of letters. His most important works include: Le Vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori e architettori. A collection of biographies of the most famous artists from the Middle Ages to his own time, with a special focus on those who had influenced his style.

The painter of ‘self-portraits

Giorno Vasari was an ‘innovator’ of the artist portrait. It was he who began to include, within his canvases, his own image, i.e. his self-portrait. A way of unmistakably signing his work. This practice became common in the centuries to come.

Among his most important canvases are: Six Tuscan Poets, Allegory of the Conception, Portrait of Lorenzo the Magnificent, The Temptations of St Jerome, The Adoration of the Magi.

Friendship with Michelangelo Buonarroti

One of the most interesting aspects of Giorgio Vasari’s life was his friendship with Michelangelo Buonarroti. The latter, becoming a legend, was coveted by many nobles and by the church itself, which frequently requested him for his works. Michelangelo admired Vasari’s work and supported him on several occasions.

For example, it was he who recommended Vasari to Pope Clement VII to work on some projects in Rome. Where he realised the: Del monte chapel in San Pietro Montorio and Villa Giulia. Important monuments in Rome that are visited by millions of tourists every year. Here one can see how the influence of religion was Vasari’s main inspiration.

Retrace the steps of Giorgio Vasari

A painter and sculptor, Vasari travelled extensively in Italy and it is possible to retrace his life’s journey through cities and works. Born in Arezzo, he returned there in old age where he died. This is where Vasari’s house is now a museum. Works of undoubted beauty cover the walls and ceilings.

Florence saw him grow and learn. Here is the ‘casa Vasari a splendid Florentine building in borgo Santa Croce 8. You can also visit his other works in Florence, such as the Palazzo Vecchio, which he managed to transform into a Renaissance palace. Then we continue with the mural painting inside the Florence Dome showing the ‘Last Judgement’.

Then on to Rome there is the Del Monte Chapel in San Pietro Montorio and Villa Giulia. Finally, in Naples, there is Giorgio Vasari’s famous ‘Sistine Chapel’. Here we open a little curiosity! Giorgio Vasari dedicated this work, replicating his vision of the Sistine Chapel in Rome by Buonarroti, precisely as a tribute to Buonarroti himself.