The Father of Art History

The man behind the great men of the Renaissance

Detail from <em>St. Luke Painting the Virgin</em>,
Giorgio Vasari, 1565 (Wikimedia Commons)
Detail from St. Luke Painting the Virgin, Giorgio Vasari, 1565 (Wikimedia Commons)

Giorgio Vasari has been variously called the father of art history, the inventor of artistic biography, and the author of “the Bible of the Italian Renaissance”—a little book called The Lives of the Artists. It’s a touchstone for scholars looking to get a peek at life in Michelangelo’s day, and quite fun, too, depending on whose wildly embellished life you’re reading. Ingrid Rowland joins us on the podcast to tell the story of the man behind the men of the Renaissance that we know so well—and, of course, to gossip a bit about Florentine egos, and even a few naughty monkeys.

Go beyond the episode:

  • Cosimo de' Medici returning from exile, on the ceiling of the Palazzo Vecchio; Giorgio Vasari, painted between 1556 and 1558

Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.

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Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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