2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

Vasari’s Conception of the History of Sculpture in Giotto’s Age: Vasari’s Biographies of Nicola and Giovanni Pisani

Yih-Fen Hua

National Yang-Ming University

One of the most important facets of Giorgio Vasari’s revision of the Vite (1568) is his conception of art history in the parte prima. In the first edition of the Vite (1550), Vasari emphatically fashions Giotto as the sole pivot who transformed the Italian art from maniera greca to maniera moderna. In the second edition, owning to Cosimo I de’ Medici’s cultural politics for an expanding monarchy and Vincenzo Borghini’s consequent description of the Vite as “una HISTORIA uniuersale di tutte le pitture et sculture di Italia,” Vasari broadens the scope of his Vite-writing by paying more attention to the art history of Trecento Tuscany.

This paper examines how Vasari modifies his conception of Trecento sculpture history by recognizing the achievements of Nicola and Giovanni Pisani, while resolutely sticking to his standpoint of “fiorentismo”. Vasari’s main strategy is first to fashion the painter lineage of Cimabue-Giotto as primary in the development of Trecento art, and then to justify in terms of his “paragone” the argument that the development of sculpture should accord with the development of painting.


Keywords: Giotto, Nicola Pisano, Giovanni Pisano, Giorgio Vasari, metahistory