A Renaissance story of art: Vasari’s Lives of the Artists

Saturday 20 October, 11am–4pm

Sainsbury Wing Theatre

Jenny Graham

£35/£30 conc./£25 Members & Patrons/£10 Students

Have you ever wondered who invented Art History? Learn about the Renaissance author Giorgio Vasari.

During the Renaissance Giorgio Vasari began writing biographies of artists, including Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo. He elevated humble craftsmen, transforming them to ‘genius artists’.

Find out how his book, ‘Lives of the Artists’, has shaped the history of art from the Renaissance to the present day.


11am                  Welcome

11.05–11.50am    The invention of the artist: Vasari’s grand narrative

11.50am–12pm    Comfort break (water is provided)

12–1pm              Telling tales: Vasari’s artistic fables

1.00–2.00pm       Lunch (not provided)

2.00–3.00pm       Vasari’s legacy: a Romantic revival, 18001900

3.00–3.10pm       Comfort break (water is provided)

3.10–3.30pm       Questions and discussion

Tutor's biography

Jenny Graham is an Associate Professor (Reader) in Art History at the University of Plymouth. She is author of 'Inventing Van Eyck: The Remaking of an Artist for the Modern Age' (2007). Her book 'Afterlives: Giorgio Vasari and the Rise of Art History in the Nineteenth Century' is forthcoming.

Image above: Detail from Leonardo da Vinci, The Virgin of the Rocks, about 1491/2–9 and 1506–8