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Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574) was born in Arezzo. He was a painter, architect of the Uffizi in Florence (the offices of the Tuscan government), and author of the 'Vite de' piu eccellenti Pittori, Scultori ed Architettori' (Lives of the most excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects), first published in 1550. The work begins with the life of Giotto, and ends with Michelangelo, the only living artist included. In the revised 1568 edition Vasari added the lives of other artists of his own day. It is strongly Tuscan oriented. Vasari saw art as continuously developing until it reached perfection in the art of Michelangelo.

Despite its numerous errors, Vasari's work is still the primary source for our knowledge of Italian artists and painting practice in the Renaissance and earlier.