Thursday, July 26, 2012


The modern discipline of European art historiography stems from the Italian Renaissance. Historians agree that the Renaissance, properly speaking, began about 1400 and lasted until 1600 or perhaps 1650. In the field of art historiography, however, the paradigm created during that era lingered until 1764, when Johann Joachim Winckelmann proffered a different approach in his great book on the history of art in antiquity (see the following chapter).
There has been much debate about whether the Renaissance represented a sharp break or amounted to a continuation of the previous era. Jules Michelet and Jacob Burckhardt exulted in the progress the Renaissance made towards the modern age. Burckhardt likened the change to a veil being removed from man's eyes, allowing him to see clearly.
             Yet many historians now acknowledge that most of the negative social factors popularly associated with the medieval period, including poverty, warfare, religious and political persecution, seem to have worsened in an age that saw the rise of Machiavellian politics, the Wars of Religion, the corrupt Borgia Popes, and the intensified witch-hunts of the sixteenth century. In all likelihood, most people who lived during the Renaissance did not view it as the "golden age" imagined by certain nineteenth-century authors.  Instead they were preoccupied with the challenges of daily living, challenges that were intensified by these social maladies. It was the upper crust--artists, writers, and patrons--who gravitated to the idea that they were living in a glorious new era that marked a clean break from the Middle Ages.  For their part, some Marxist historians prefer to describe the Renaissance in material terms, maintaining that the changes in art, literature, and philosophy were part of a general economic trend from feudalism towards capitalism, a trend that fostered the rise of a bourgeois class with leisure time to devote to the arts.
                The Dutch historian Johan Huizinga (1872–1945) acknowledged the existence of the Renaissance but questioned whether it was a positive change. In his influential book The Waning of the Middle Ages, he argued that the Renaissance was in fact a period of decline from the high middle ages, discarding much that was important. Evolving from its classical origins during the medieval centuries, Latin was still a living language used in the church and elsewhere. Yet the Renaissance obsession with classical purity halted its further development, seeking to confine Latin in the straight jacket of its classical form. 

The historian Robert S. Lopez has contended that the Renaissance was a period of deep economic recession.  George Sarton and Lynn Thorndike, scholars of the history of science, both concluded that during the Renaissance scientific progress was perhaps less original than has traditionally been supposed. Finally, the feminist historian Joan Kelly argued that the Renaissance led to greater gender dichotomy, lessening the agency women had had during the Middle Ages.
             Some historians are inclined to consider  “Renaissance” to be a loaded term, idealistically positing a great surge forward from the supposedly all-enveloping "Dark Ages"  Many historians now prefer to use the term "early modern" for this period, a more neutral designation that highlights the period as a transitional one between the Middle Ages and the modern era. Others such as Roger Osborne suggest that the Italian Renaissance was a repository of the myths and ideals of western history in general; instead of constituting a rebirth of ancient ideas, it was a period of great innovation.

Certainly innovation was the keynote of Renaissance art historiography.  This emerging discipline unfolded in three main stages. The artist-writers Lorenzo Ghiberti and Giorgio Vasari devised the original model, emphasizing the primacy of their own Tuscan region and (somewhat less enthusiastically) of Italy in general. In the second stage, non-Tuscan Italians sought to do greater justice to their own regions and, to the extent that they wrote later, endeavored to bring the paradigm up to date. Finally, the Italian paradigms inspired comparable histories of Dutch and Flemish, German, English, and Spanish art.  As it diffused, the primary model underwent some changes, but the basic features remained stable.
In all its variants the Renaissance paradigm of art history exhibited two limitations. First, it accepted only two privileged cycles: Greco-Roman art, and European art from ca. 1250 CE onwards. The exclusions reflected not only unawareness (as of such societies as Japan and Mexico), but also a tangle of negativity.  All nonclassical art was condemned a priori. In this view the Middle Ages were simply equated with the Dark Ages, and no good could come from emulating its monuments.  In fact any sign of sympathy for them stigmatized the bearer as a boor devoid of even the rudiments of good taste.  In addition, the model stipulated that the development of art was unilinear. Implicitly or explicitly its course had to fit a teleological imperative of ever-increasing idealization and naturalism. Other sorts of advances--including the introduction of such techniques as oil painting, printing from moveable type, and porcelain--drew little attention.
These limitations notwithstanding, the great achievement of Renaissance art history was to set forth a meaningful sequence of development, witnessed by paintings and sculptures that any connoisseur could examine in churches, public buildings and squares, and major collections. The custom of the Grand Tour, with Italy as its goal, was central to this enterprise.
 As in other periods, the growth of collecting stimulated the advance of art history. Even middle-class patrons could participate, as drawings and engravings became increasingly available to those of more modest means.  Some of these individuals became critic-historians, whose writings swelled the mass of art history.

Concept and Character of the Renaissance.
We generally--and correctly--ascribe the origins of the Renaissance to Italy. Why then does the period possess, in English and German as well as in French, a French name? The answer lies in the growth of historical understanding itself. To be sure, some Italian scholars living during the period that we now call the Renaissance had a prescient sense of new beginnings. Yet immersed in their own milieu, they could not foresee how their circumstances would appear from a distance, when posterity could grasp their era as something rounded and complete because it was over. Moreover, Renaissance savants tended to focus on particular aspects, notably the revival of Latin letters as practiced by the humanists. In any event they created no term corresponding to our Renaissance in the absolute sense.i
The French origin of the term dates back to the Napoleonic era when the secularization of church property in territories under French rule, combined with plundering of many Italian collections, had made Paris a depository of artistic loot from both the medieval and Renaissance eras. During this period the antiquarian and medievalist Jean-Baptiste Seroux d'Agincourt (1730-1814) was completing his Histoire de l'art par les monuments. Owing to his difficulty in finding a publisher, it did not appear in complete form until 1823. Seroux assigned himself the ambitious task of writing a history of medieval art.  He was deeply ambivalent about his subject since his ideas remained anchored in neoclassic taste, as formulated by the German archaeologist Johann Joachim Winckelmann, whom he deeply revered. From the fourth to the thirteenth century art was hobbled, he believed, by barbarism, but then came "l'époque de la Renaissance." Although this advance set in at a somewhat different date in each of the three arts, individual manifestations reflected the same underlying causes.
The new concept of the Renaissance as a distinct epoch in cultural history was taken up by two followers of Seroux, Artaud de Montor and Paillot de Montabert, who published works in 1811 and 1812 respectively. By the end of the 1820s the term had been assimilated by the novelists Stendhal and Balzac and by the philosopher Victor Cousin.ii
In view of these recognitions, the common view that the noted historian Jules Michelet coined  the Renaissance concept must be rejected.iii  Still, Michelet enjoyed a wide readership, so that it is worth noting briefly his ideas as formulated in 1855.  The key points were two: the discovery of Man (inner nature) and of the World (the outer, external environ­ment). According to Michelet, the Middle Ages disregarded these perceptions in favor of a transcendental reality. In his opinion, the medieval world view was qualitatively different, more spiritual, less of the flesh. Although he had conducted research targeting the earlier period, Michelet, like most of his contemporaries, was unable to shake off the traditional disparagement of the Middle Ages as a dark age.
The ideas that had formed in France were taken up and given intense vitality by the Swiss Jakob Burckhardt in his 1860 Kultur der Renaissance in Italien (Civiliz­ation of the Renaissance in Italy), a landmark of modern history writing.iv Although the French import "Renaissance" had enjoyed some currency in German since the 1830s, Burckhardt's preference for the term, instead of the German "Wiedergeburt," marks his homage to French scholarship. Setting aside the current fashion for the Middle Ages, the Swiss writer discove­red unexpected virtues in the Renaissance, especially in its many-faceted expression of the principle of individualism. Burckhardt's vision is a comprehensive one, viewing all aspects of the Renaissance as governed by a single outlook. In his 1860 book, which still enjoys wide readership, only the visual arts were neglected; Burckhardt particularly loved them, however, and reserved their treatment for another volume, of which he ultimately composed only fragments.
Burckhardt bears some responsibility for a mistake in emphasis. Conflating the Ren­aissance and the Enlightenment, scholars and the lay public have ascribed advanced secularism to the Renaissance, finding qualities of modernity that were not there. In fact such "occult sciences" as white magic and alchemy flourished in the period we know as the Renaissance.  Moreover, until the Reformation the supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church was taken for granted.  Scholars like Ficino and Pico della Mirandola sought only to "supplement" the insights of Christian theology with ideas derived from Plato and the Hermetic Corpus.
             During this era astrology was not separate from astronomy. Ostensibly, astrology helped people to understand the characters and moods of artists, not in terms of physical or constitutional factors, but as a function of heavenly influences or "inclinations." In a system inherited from the Hellenistic age of antiquity, each of the planets had its own "children," to whom it lent its particular properties. For instance a person who was "ruled by Saturn" would be expected to be nasty, moody, reclusive, superstitious.v Artists were commonly given this character type.  Venus indicated love and beauty while Mars was warlike. But Saturn remained dominant for artists, so that the Romantic notion of the tormented artist was foreshadowed in this period. Had he lived during the Renaissance, Vincent Van Gogh would have been child of Saturn par excellence.  During the Renaissance, however, the torment was not ascribed to the figure's personality or circumstances but to the influence of the stars. 
It remains unarguable that the Renaissance nourished a critical attitude towards earlier times fostered a new understanding of the pastness of the past, includi­ng, eventually, the Renaissance itself.  We do not simply live in a perpetual now, but can differentiate between the "now" and the "then." The major breakthrough occurred in the ruminations of the humanist Petrarch (1304-1374) on the fate of Revering both the city and empire of the Romans, Petrarch bitterly lamented the fall of Rome as a catastrophe without parallel. The light of civilization had gone out, only to reappear, fitfully, in his own time. These reflections marked the start of a long tradition of denigrating the Middle Ages as the Dark Ages. Following in Petrarch's footsteps, the Renaissance perceived itself as a revival of classical antiquity.  History displayed three separate ages, Antiquity (A), Dark Ages (B), Renaissance (A').  Allied as they are, the first and third deserve our admiration, the intervening period decidedly not.
In due course, Petrarch's conjecture was fleshed out in more detail. Flavio Biondo's (1388-1463) history Decades historiarum ab inclinatione imperii (Decades of History from the Decline of the Empire), consigns the period 410-1440 to an intermediate stage, contrasting with antiquity and modern times. (Ironically, Petrarch himself was stranded in the era of stagnation, though with a prophetic insight into the better times that were coming.) Eventually the term Middle Ages was popularized in the 1688 work of the German writer Christoph Keller (Cellarius), Historia Medii Aevi a temporibus Constantini Magni ad Constantinopolis a Turcis captam deducta.vii Thus in inventing and spreading the idea of the Middle Ages, Renaissance thinkers and historians conjured up a Mephistolean adversary, one that spread a vast pall of darkness only to be dissipated by better times.
Distance from the Middle Ages was also fostered by the sharply honed skills of philology.viii A celebrated example of the application of these tools is Lorenzo Valla's (ca. 1407-1457) exposure of the forgery of the "Donation of Constantine," a chief prop of the medieval papacy. But only later, in the more tolerant and skeptical atmosphere of the eighteenth century, could the critical solvents distilled by Valla and others be applied to the Bible itself. 
              Today this honing of self-image is long over, and modern scholars approach the Renaissance more dispassionately. What is the general picture? Some have suggested that the Renaissance began, at least in Italy, about A.D. 1300--the time of Giotto and Dante. Most, though, would place its origins a century later. In fact, it is impossible to draw a bright line separating the Middle Ages from the Renaissance, and there are even those who question the reality of the distinction between the two. There are no abstract "essences" marking historical eras, rendering them different in nature from those that precede and follow. Certainly the Renaissance prolonged interests and social forms that had originated in the Middle Ages. The scholasticism of St. Thomas Aquinas, with its characteristic literary forms of the textbook, the commentary, and the disputation, survived vigorously, thanks in large measure to the Dominican order.ix In art many important commissions continued to be linked with the churches of the mendicant orders.x On the other hand, in painting itself, the introduction of scientific perspective and anatomical precision in depicting the human form served not only to create striking visual effects, but to promote a new outlook towards the world itself. In short the matter is complex, and the choice of significant features will depend upon the interests of the observer. When all is said and done, one must conclude that the Middle Ages and the Renaissance present both continuity and difference.
           Changing class structure was a significant factor. The high Middle Ages had polarized the population with a privileged upper crust (nobles and clergy) dominating a servile peasantry. The late Middle Ages, however, saw the emergence of an intermediate group of artisans.xi This third class possessed can-do knowledge, fostering interpretation of reality in terms of practicality. Making and selling products was the goal. At the same time a growing secular intelligentsia sought to make sense of the new climate.  In the protocapital­ism of urban centers, an interchange between the spheres of theory and practice took place.
Florence owed its prominence in large measure to the way in which it facilitated this interchange.  In the city's compact layout the major sites and public gathering places are close together. Nowadays we would be inclined to regard the dense residential quarters as slums. Yet the physical closeness resulting in daily interaction in streets and squares fostered communication.  The parallel with Greek city states is striking.
            Creative figures cherished a special comradery.  The interaction of artists lent support to the notion that different arts--preeminently painting, sculpture and architecture--shared something special, collaborated in a common endeavor, and had a shared identity and shared problems. In addition, some practiced more than one art; Brunelleschi was a painter, goldsmith, and archi­tect, while Lorenzo Ghiberti did architecture and sculpture. Leone Battista Alberti, who had a literary background, tried his hand at almost everything.
             The three privileged arts of painting, sculpture, and archi­tecture benefited from being lifted from the lowly status of mere "mechan­ical" arts to the dignity of liberal arts. Yet in their ascent they left behind the crafts or applied arts. Hence the distinc­tion, which still persists, between fine arts and "minor arts" such as glassware, enamel, and ceramics. There is a clear analogy with class structure in such rankings of categories of aesthetic endeavor. The imperatives of class entered not only directly but metaphorically into the arts.

Lorenzo Ghibert: Artist and Pioneering Interpreter of the History of Art.
The sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti (ca. 1381-1455) began as a goldsmith and painter. He launched the major phase of his career by winning the 1402 competition for a pair of bronze doors for the Baptistery of Florence, defeating Brunelleschi and five others. Such was the success of this undertaking, that in 1425 Ghiberti received the commission for a second pair of doors, with panels designed to achieve a new grandeur; these doors are known as the Gates of Paradise.xii
After completing this daunting task, Ghiberti withdrew to his country house, where he occupied his last years mainly in writing his Commentarii or Observations.xiii This work, the intellectual balance sheet of a practicing artist, also incorporates the first attempt since antiquity to sketch a history of art. No full English translation has been published, and it must be granted that the original is marked by a certain incoherence. Ghiberti was not a professional writer, but a practicing artist. Writing in the Italian vernacular, he struggled to render Latin formulae for which no adequate equivalents had yet been devised. As is the case with many manuscript works of the time, the Commentarii was probably abandoned rather than finished.
The prologue to the first book (largely purloined from Athenaeus, an obscure Greek writer on military matters) includes a statement of the humanistic breadth of knowledge that an artist requires, including grammar, geometry, philosophy, medicine, astrology, perspective, history, anatomy, the theory of drawing, and arithmetic. This list recalls a similar prescription Vitruvius made for the architect. It seems that the overall planning of the Commentarii also stems from Vitruvius, for the whole work divides into ten thematic parts, each introduced by a passage adapted from Vitruvius.xiv
Nonetheless, it is convenient to retain the usual division of the manuscript into three books. The first book offers various theoretical observations of Ghiberti's own, including what appears to be the first discussion of a concept with a significant future: disegno, meaning not only drawing as a technique but also the basic principle underlying all painting and sculpture. Yet the main part of the first book, derived largely from Pliny and other Roman sources, enumerates the leading Greek masters of sculpture and painting, with Ghiberti making an effort to relate them to Rome and Italy in his own time. The sprawling third book is of lesser importance. By far the largest, this book somewhat awkwardly gathers scientific material relevant to optics and perspective--technical skills Ghiberti held indispensable for a progressive artist of his own day.xv At one point, though, this dry exposition yields to a vivid description of ancient art works the writer had seen.
The second book is the gem.  It is truly original, for Ghiberti essays an account of the history of Italian art, complimenting the ancient narrative presented in book one. With the triumph of the Christian faith as the state religion, Ghiberti avers, art was for six hundred years completely suppressed on the grounds that it was idolatry.  But this ban did not last, and after some faltering Byzantine efforts, the first true resuscitation of art began in Tuscany.
Ghiberti marks the start of this revival with a telling anecdote. While out walking in the countryside the established painter Cimabue espied the shepherd boy Giotto drawing on a rock. Cimabue took him as a pupil, but Giotto surpassed his master, founding the new tradition of art. In a refrain that often recurs in later times, Ghiberti maintains that Giotto's superiority derived from his recourse to nature rather than hidebound tradition.
The Florentine writer then presents the information he was able to gather about succeeding generations of painters and sculptors. Although he does not arrange his "modern" (mainly fourteenth- century) painters and sculptors in a strictly evolutionary sequence, he does indicate that pupils learned from their masters and, when their gifts availed, surpassed them.
Ghiberti concludes this remarkable second book with a discussion of his own works. Although this account is not a full autobiography, it is certainly a big step in that direction, complementing the eloquent self-portrait bust he had included in the Gates of Paradise. In this image he depicts himself as a worker, bent over with effort, who yet radiates satisfied achievement. There is even a hint of eternal fame, for the Neo-Platonic associations of the roundel that frames the bust suggest permanence.
Several special features mark Ghiberti's history. He is the first to posit two great cycles of art, an ancient one terminated by the inception of the Middle Ages, and a new one beginning with Giotto. Art for him is not, as it was for Pliny and even largely for Xenocrates, a matter of past glories, for he proudly presents himself as a confident participant in an upsurge that had ascended to a plateau of maturity. This new art requires a panoply of skills. For artists of his own day native talent and adherence to nature, which had largely sufficed for Giotto, was not enough; command of the relevant scientific and technical disciplines was mandatory. While it is understandable in terms of the historical context, this preoccupation with technical expertise served to hinder the advance of historically directed art writing through the rest of the century.

Leon Battista Alberti.
The technical treatise which occupies most of Ghiberti's third book responds to the quattrocento (fifteenth-century) longing for theoretical writings. Such expository texts were sought not only for the practical information they contained regarding the handling of such newfangled devices as perspective, but also served to bolster the artist's self esteem, reassuring him that his profession was indeed a challenging, and therefore worthy one. Such concerns had in fact been addressed more elegantly by a Florentine humanist (who was also an architect): Leon Battista Alberti (ca. 1404-1472). Alberti's treatise on painting was completed in 1435.xvi Replete with erudition, the book on painting, with its emphasis on perspective and the characteristics of istorie (narrative scenes), is an original creation with no evident model.xvii Although an effort has been made to detect a general theory of history in Alberti's thought, he does not seem to have extended such perceptions to the realm of the visual arts.xviii  Instead of positing stages of development, he assumes a stark contrast between good painting (thriving in classical antiquity and reviving in his own day) and bad painting--the common lot of unenlightened humanity.
              Alberti's commitment to the visual arts also impelled him to compose a short book on sculpture and a magisterial volume on architecture. The book on architecture is by far the most ambitious of his works: he labored on it for over three decades.xix  Studying the ancient writings with great care, he conceived architecture as the splendid instrument for the realization of a new, utopian vision of human life which would permit self-realization within a disciplined framework.  Unlike many theor­eticians, Alberti did not disdain to practice what he preached. He designed the Palazzo Ruccellai in Florence as the concrete embodim­ent of his ideas of social comportment. His concept of the family embraced two or three branches, not the compact nuclear family now so familiar, and this imposing building, with its two separate entrances, reflects his clanlike concept. Reaffirming traditional bonds, his concept of society was truly communitarian. Alberti perceived art and architecture not as isolated crafts, but as essential instruments in the realization of his vision of the dignity of community life.
The large tome that constitutes the De Architectura libri decem was not created from scratch. Almost inevitably, the work of the Roman theorist Vitruvius, a book widely read throughout the Middle Ages and beyond, served as Alberti's model. Yet it was a model as much to be avoided as emulated. Ever confident of his own powers, the Italian writer felt that he could surpass his predecessor almost effortlessly.  For one thing, Vitruvius was simply a bad writer. "His very text is evidence that he wrote neither Latin nor Greek, so that as far as we are concerned he might just as well not have written at all, rather than write something that we cannot understand." (6:1). As an experienced humanist who had produced writing in many genres, Alberti's work embodied elegance, verbal agility, and clarity of purpose.
Not by accident, the subject matter of these three Albertian treatises corresponds to the triad of "monumental" arts--painting, sculpture, and architecture--which, as has been noted above, emerged in contrast to the "minor" arts of goldsmith's work, enamel, ceramics and the like. Ghiberti, who was both a goldsmith and a sculptor, stemmed from an older tradition in which the "fine arts," as they were later termed, were not differentiated from the "applied arts."xx In fact, the link between goldsmithing and the other arts was not so easily severed. In addition to Ghiberti, such major figures as Donatello, Brunelleschi, and Pollaiuolo were initially trained to produce "minor works" in  precious metals. This professional grounding is disregarded by Alberti, the idealist. He placed his remarkable learning at the service of promoting the three callings to the status of the elite class of the liberal arts--with consequences that linger to this day for those who have dedicated themselves to cultivating some branch of "craft art."
The artistic treatises were only a part of Alberti's literary output. As a humanist, he focused on the idea of commonwealth, the advancement of public interest and knowledge, not just the individual.  In so far as his writings deal with the world as he thought it should be and not as it was there is a Utopian, even prophetic element. After some early jocose dialogues, he turned to more substantial works.  His Della Famiglia is an early avatar of modern sociology.xxi
One of the topics of Alberti's painting book was the proper construction of one-point perspec­tive.  This revolutionary device was one of the main hallmarks of the period's sense of a new beginning. The first surviving painted demonstration of this new perspective seems to be the spectacular Santa Maria Novella fresco of the Trinity by Masaccio.xxii Masaccio utilized an invention of ca. 1415 by Brunelleschi, whose two demonstration panels are unfortunately lost. From the fresco, a fictive chapel can be reconstructed. This is possible because a reliable procedure allowed the painter to reduce three-dimensional reality to a two-dimensional grid. This display of "truth in painting" was a startling novelty.
Some scholars have found analogies for this two-dimensional plotting in cartography, which was making spectacular strides in the period.  Taking their cue from this realm (it has been posited) people began to think of the world in "Cartesian space," with grid-like latitude and longitude lines.xxiii This lead to the triumph of the right angle glorified by Le Corbusier and Piet Mondrian and decried by Frank Lloyd Wright and Hans Arp.
However this may be, the Renaissance was a fruitful era for the encounter between art and science: it forged a scientific approach to art. Another aspect of this encounter between the two cultures is with medicine.  Some artists resorted to dissecting bodies so as to achieve a more accurate rendering of human anatomy. 
There is also a microsociological dimension.  Alberti, Brunelleschi, and Masaccio formed a kind of buddy network of like-minded individuals.  As recent "self-help" books have stressed, networking has not only an everyday aspect--meeting and becoming friends with supportive fellow workers--but an external one--securing the approval and patronage of the powerful ("making contacts").  Be that as it may, one of the tasks of the history of art is to record the circumstances of artists, who show significant links with colleagues.
More generally, such theorists as Leon Battista Alberti and Piero della Francesca (a major painter who wrote two treatises in the 1480s) show the confluence of two modes of thought. On the one hand, there was the deductive procedure exemplified by Scholasticism, with its focus on axioms and the derivational relations linking them. On the other hand, there was the new empiricism stemming from workshop practice. The need to link the two transpires in a a saying common at the time: "Ars sine scientia nihil est." Roughly: practical skill without theoretical understanding is nothing. But the converse is also true: without the concrete achievements of the craftspeople there would be nothing to explain. The Renaissance mind sought to articulate what the Renaissance hand had achieved.
Not all links with the past were severed. The notion of rebirth occurs in the New Testament, witness the familiar gospel verse admonishing baptism: "Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3 in the Revised Standard Version).  Thus the metaphor of rebirth leads back not just to classical antiquity but also to Christianity.  The idea blends the medieval heritage with classical belief, a conjunction attesting to the importance of continuity.

New Trends.
Toward the end of the fifteenth century the atmosphere subtly shifted. A justly renowned painting displays this difference: Botticelli's Primavera (Springtime) of 1470.  Seemingly naturalistic, this verdant work, as Mirella Levi d'Ancona has shown, is replete with flower symbolism.xxiv  The complex ideological background of the period was centered on Neo-Platonism, a revival of Platonic principles propagated by Marsilio Ficino, who sponsored leading intellectuals, and may have inspired Michel­angelo.xxv Not an irreligious but a syncretistic thinker, Ficino sought to create an all-embracing theology which would reconcile Christian with Greek themes. He also favored the shadowy author Hermes Trismegistus--in his view an Egyptian contemporary of Moses, and one of the wisest men who ever lived.  Modern scholarship has ascertained that the Corpus Hermeticum ("Hermes Trismegistus"), to which Ficino was so devoted, does not rank as a witness of primordial wisdom, but is a compilation of mystical writings assembled during late antiquity. In his day Ficino's synthesis of Hermetic lore, astrology, Greek and Roman philosophy, and Christianity was supremely appealing, but it has not worn well.  As with Alberti, though for different reasons, Ficino lacked the historical sense.  The key thing was this: home in on the primum mobile, the universal principles, and act accordingly. Despite major shifts in at­mosphere in the course of the century, the quattrocento generally tended to neglect historical development, as least as far as art was concerned, for the need to establish the new principles on firm foundations was of surpassing importance.  In political history matters were different, and in his History of the Florentine people (completed in 1442)  Leonardo Bruni placed the emerging discipline on a firm basis.
These reflections may seem to have taken us away from the central task of this study, which is to trace the emergence, growth, and affirmation of the historical approach to art. Yet history involves not only grand intergenerational themes, but the story of individual lives: what is conventionally called biography. As has been noted, Ghiberti included his own autobiography in his Commentarii. This effort was followed by several specimens of biography. The Life of Brunelleschi was written by Antonio Manetti (1423-1491), a partisan of the architect who sought to downgrade his rival Ghiberti.xxvi The Neapolitan humanist Bartolomeo Fazio included four short lives of contemporary artists in his De viris illustribus, written between 1453 and 1457.xxvii Significantly, two of the quartet are Italians (Gentile da Fabriano and Pisanello) and two are northerners (Jan van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden). Later Italian writers were to be less generous to the Northern school.
As a rule, these biographies provide little of the concrete data that one would nowadays expect on works of art, but they do show an emerging propensity to focus on individual creators.
Apart from biographies, the focus of art writing remained theoretical and unhistorical through most of the quattrocento. Towards the turn of the century, however, a changed approach appeared: a few individuals showed a new eagerness to acquire facts regarding the arts. The first surviving document of this quest for knowledge is a compilation known as the Libro di Antonio Billi.xxviii Antonio Billi was a rich Florentine merchant; it is not certain whether he was the author or merely the possessor of the manuscript that bears his name. Unlike Ghiberti, the author of the Libro was not an artist, but a layperson who loved the arts; he shows a certain timidity of judgment, even though his statements reflect scrutiny of many original works. The Billi manuscript is not a mature literary composition, but a kind of notebook or miscellany, apparently compiled between 1481 and 1530. The original nucleus of the text covers artists from Cimabue to Pollaiuolo; contemporary figures, including Leonardo and Michelangelo, were added at a later stage.
Since the Libro has not been translated into English, it is worth citing one artist entry in its entirety: "Paolo Uccello was a good and varied composer, a great master of animals and landscapes, skillful in foreshortening for he understood perspective well. In the first cloister of Santa Maria Novella he made a major scene: God forms Adam and Eve, then they are cast out of the paradise of delights; another scene of the Flood [offers] many fine things. In the Cathedral [there is] the equestrian figure of Giovanni Acuto, the talented captain of the Florentines, executed in terra verde technique. He made two figures on the façade of the Balduccio Office. On the San Tommaso Gate in Florence [is] Christ with St. Thomas. He painted angels in the cloister of the Orto Verde in terra verde--many figures that have been much praised. In the cloister of San Miniato al Monte he did other work in terra verde, but this has not been much admired. He made other scenes on canvas and in other spots which have been much commended." Laconic entries of this kind centered on the recording of facts. The writer seems reluctant to "go out on a limb": through the use of the passive voice, value judgments are ascribed to others rather than being directly espoused by the compiler.
During the years 1537-42 another person, the Anonimo Magliabechiano, appropriated the Libro di Antonio Billi, adding further material to bring it up to date. It has not been possible to identify the writer, but he seems to have been an ecclesiastic rather than an artist. Another scribe, Giovanni Battista Gelli (1498-1563), created a series of twenty biographies of artists. In a masterly analysis, Wolfgang Kallab showed that these writers--the Anonimo and Gelli--drew upon a source that is now lost ("Schrift K") but which was also available to Giorgio Vasari.xxix It is not necessary to enter into the intricacies of these textual relationships to acknowledge that from about 1480 onwards a number of individuals made an serious effort to gather factual data about artists, their works, and their standing. Arranging the artists in a historical order suggests a natural progression, these writers also began to proffer some critical judgments.

Giorgio Vasari.
All these efforts were cast in the shade by the immense achievement of the first great art historian of the period. Not an artist of the first rank, the Aretine Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) was an industrious painter, and the architect who built the palace of the Uffizi in Florence, now fittingly the chief art museum of the city. He was also a collector, acquiring autograph drawings of earlier and contemporary artists. This activity fostered an awareness of period and personal differences of style. By the late fifteenth century artists had started to exchange drawings as gifts (e.g., Dürer and Raphael), and these tokens of mastery were also eagerly sought by princes and intellectuals. The scholarly work of Joseph Alsop, which has been mentioned in previous chapters, indicates that a vital link binds collecting and art historical
In Vasari's time disegno, a key term, meant both the creation of contour drawings (the restricted sense) and systematic pursuit of creative art through thoughtful composition and arrangement (the broad sense).xxxi  Assigning such a key role to disegno helped to reinforce older beliefs in the fundamental importance of drawing. The Greeks had propounded the theory that painting came into being through tracing the contour of shadows. A corollary of the exaltation of drawing was the relegation of color to a secondary level--a demotion that had earlier been endorsed by Plato.
           Vasari, whose Lives appeared in its first edition in 1550, had not originally intended to practice the literary profession.xxxii  His career change seems to have come about as follows. In 1546 he attended a dinner party in Rome with some high church dignitaries, who expressed a wish to have a history of Italian art.  At first it seemed that one of their number would attempt the task.  But it was the artist, Giorgio Vasari, who actually took up the challenge. Gathering the material required much travel, solicitation of notes by others, and consultation of original sources and earlier fragmentary attempts.  Needless to say Vasari operated without photographs.  There were no catalogue raisonnés, detailed lists of an artist's oeuvre, of the sort that nowadays reflect a long process of careful sifting of the canon of an individual artist's work.  Very few of the princely art collections could boast a proper inventory. The study of the subject still languished, in large measure, in the "oral history" stage, a situation that explains the fact that Vasari's accounts of individual artist become more detailed the closer their lives were to his own. For the earlier artists he had to make do with sparse anecdotes and uncertain, often legendary information.
After what must rank as one of the most astonishing "forced marches" of scholarship, the Florentine firm of Lorenzo Torrentino brought out Le Vite de' più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori italiani da Cimabue insino a' tempi nostri in 1550.xxxiii In his coverage Vasari excluded living artists, with the signal exception of his friend Michelangelo Buonarroti, whose life triumphantly concludes the book. The much enlarged second edition of 1568 offered much additional information that had come to the writer's attention over the preceding eighteen years.xxxiv With more space at his disposal, Vasari was able to cover many contemporary artists, so that Michelangelo lost some of his special status, thus blurring the triumphant sweep of the first edition. The new edition, issued by the Giunti firm in Florence, shows a change in title: Le Vite dei più eccellenti pittori, scultori e architettori. The reshuffling of the order of the arts, so that the painters come first, seems to reflect Vasari's recognition of the amount of space allocated to them in his work, rather than any profound rethinking of the relations among the three arts.xxxv
As a humanistically oriented Renaissance author, Vasari was obliged to honor Greco-Roman literary precedents. In all likelihood Plutarch's Lives underlay Vasari's "exemplar theory," whereby creative figures had to pass muster as to whether they were good role models or inadequate ones. Buttressed with appropriate citations from Polybius and Cicero, this notion of history as magistra vita ranked as a central tenet of history writing in the Renaissance, which disregarded any claims of absolute objectivity in favor of a "usable past" replete with good and bad models of conduct.xxxvi This mode of historical thinking, which prevailed until the second half of the eighteenth century, treated whole eras in the same way: the Egyptians and medievals counted as negative, Greece and the Renaissance itself exemplary.
Yet Plutarch took Vasari only a certain distance, for the Greek biographer profiled political figures, not cultural ones. The medieval tradition of poet biographies broadened the scope of biography, as did the lives composed in the light of the Humanist concept of fame, which occasionally extended to artists as ornaments to their city or nation.
Patricia Rubin has argued that for Vasari the structure of the individual lives (or at least the more ambitious ones) was governed by the oratory of praise (epideictic) or genus demonstrandum.xxxvii Analyzing the original text of the Life of Leonardo, which occupies a key position at the start of the Third Age, Rubin finds the following major divisions: 1) a eulogistic opening; 2) an account of ancestry, birth and youth, followed by works and deeds to illustrate strength of character; 3) a death scene; 4) a summary of accomplishments; 5) celebratory epithets; and 6) lists of followers. While Vasari's methods of organization are often more intuitive than this model would indicate, he does reveal a strong emphasis on character or virtù, intended to bolster the standing of the artist as a solid citizen.
Svetlana Alpers has established the relevance of the ekphrasis tradition, the Greco-Roman practice found in the work of Philostratus and Callistratus, of describing individual works of art in detail.xxxviii These descriptions, which bulk large in Vasari, satisfy a function that has been replaced by photographs in modern books.
The first edition of the Lives was unillustrated. For the 1568 version Vasari collected as many copies of portraits of the artists discussed as he could (there were 144 effigies in all) and sent them to the German engraver Christoph Lederer in Venice who prepared them for the printed book. The portraits are three-quarter or profile busts enclosed in an oval, itself nested in a pompous pedimented architectural enframement. For living persons or those recently deceased Vasari was able to obtain reasonably good likeness, but for such earlier worthies as Cimabue or Orcagna the physiognomies reflect fanciful identifications of purported self-portraits in frescoes which Vasari had consulted and copied. Moreover,  the portraits of earlier artists show no attempt to evoke the actual styles they practiced: all of them appear in Lederer's version of mid-sixteenth-century Mannerism. While this collection of effigies represented considerable effort on Vasari's part, they do not make his Lives in any sense the equivalent of the modern art book, where we are more interested in having accurate reproductions of the works by the artists than images of them. In fact, Vasari's apparent innovation is an adaptation of a practice going back to Greco-Roman antiquity. Readers of a particular writer, say Menander or Terence, wanted to be able to focus their thoughts on an image of him, so that the more luxurious Greek and Roman books came to have portraits in roundels at the beginning of the text. During the Middle Ages this custom modulated into the evangelist portraits introducing the Four Gospels of Holy Scripture. From these precedents, it was but a short step from author portraits to artist portraits.
              For working painters, sculptors, and architects the Vasari-Lederer portraits offered a great assemblage of role models. And collectors enjoyed seeing the likenesses of those whose works they had acquired, often at great expense. For the ordinary reader the portraits helped to anchor the quirks of personality of such eccentrics as Sodoma and Lippo Lippi.
The anecdotes, which contributed so much to Vasari's popularity over the centuries, find their closest parallel in the flourishing genre of the Italian short story.xxxix This genre, masterfully exemplied by Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375), who transformed medieval tales into an art form in his Decameron, had continued to flourish in Vasari's own time. Of course the tales told by Vasari are true, or mostly true, but the vivacious narrative techniques relied upon appetites whetted by the achievements of several generations of master story tellers.

Structure and Historiographical Concept.
At first sight, the Lives are simply a gathering of independent biographies arranged in more or less chronological order.  Yet this arrangement is no mere sequence of "one damn thing after another," for the individual lives fall into three grand divisions, each marked in the book by a separate expository preface.  Significantly, each of these divisions corresponds to a distinctive stage in the progress of art as a whole since its painful emergence from medieval darkness. 
In outline form Vasari's theory of the evolution of art is as follows.  First came the stage of awakening, as represented by such emblematic figures as Nicola Pisano and Giotto. These figures merit the name of i primi lumi, "the first lights" sparkling in the midst of the prevailing gloom.  The pioneers broke the stranglehold of the schemat­ic maniera greca, what we would term Byzantine art.  Yet in no way can their art be regarded as finished or perfected.  With little to guide them onto new paths they are still shackled to the roughness of the previous era. This period stretches from about 1250 CE to 1400.
             The second stage corresponds essentially to the quattrocento, the fifteenth century. In contrast with the previous period of emergence, the second shows a maturing and new elegance but lacks true ease and suppleness. The rendering of space and of the human figures are more credible than in the previous era.  Yet the art of the quattrocento tends to be dry and unsatisfying.
            In the final stage, the cinquecento or sixteenth century, figures of the greatest brilliance were able to attain true perfection in art.  The pivotal individual is Leonardo da Vinci, who definitively overcame quattrocento dryness, linking the figures together and setting them in an all-embracing atmosphere.  With the guidance of such artists rules become discernible; deploying these, we can evaluate whether any artist meets the criteria, passes the tests, and thereby deserves our full approbation. Broadly speaking there are two classes: the artists who make the grade and those who do not. Thus faults of awkward­ness and dryness, which could be excused in the earlier stages owing to the want of good models, must now be regarded as symptoms of personal inadequacy.  We know better.
              The great pageant of art from about the year 1250 has shown a triumphant progress from good to better to best.  Since we cannot ignore this knowledge, we must operate within its parameters: nowadays only the best standards will do.  In this triadic scheme Vasari combines the relativistic notion of the three stages (historicism) with a qualitative absolutism recalling Alberti's.  We assess the success of artists by their conformity to rules. Thus the principle of progress is wedded to criteria of grading of artists: implicitly, each one receives a "report card." Evaluating the ratings, discerning teachers and critics will no longer permit shortcomings of recalcitrant neophytes.  This dual approach--progress and ratings of quality--was anticipated in Pliny the Elder and in the writings of the Chinese connois­seurs (though only the former was known to Vasari).
               On occasion Vasari seemed to gesture towards an escape hatch from the tyranny of his grading system.  He posited a transcendent factor which does not lend itself to easy clarification,for he highest form of greatness goes beyond the rules. The word he used to define this special quality, grazia, means "grace," and one is tempted simple to render it so, but the modern term obscures its theological background. In principle it is the gods who bestow grazia; it is a boon, a concession from the divine sphere which one cannot fabricate on one's own. The notion foreshadows the later idea of individual genius, a quality of insight that surpasses technical command, however impressive. It is a concept that was only to blossom fully in the nineteenth century, but the first intimations of the modern idea of genius already appear in Vasari, who uses the term ingegno.  At times, in fact he even employs the word divinoa hyperbole that the ancients did not license.  In order to buttress the claims of his favored media to the status of liberal arts, he fosters comparisons with poets, musicians, and other ''uomini famosi.''  As individuals of special renown he not only compares Michelangelo and Brunelleschi with each other but with Dante and Ariosto.
Still. one must not overstate the importance of grazia in Vasari's system: the three-stage scheme posits a kind of Grand Machine of Art that, once started, will go of itself. It is governed by a pattern of intrinsic and ineluctable laws. Once one artistic problem is solved a new one appears; and once this issue is dealt with, a fresh challenge emerges. The whole scheme has an almost Euclidean cast, suggesting that each point in the development is preordained. While historical inevitability imposes the drawback of restricting the sphere of individual artistic freedom, at the same time it flatters artists by implying that they are called to play an honorable role in a necessary, objective process. A somewhat similar claim has been advanced for modern art, where it serves to counter the lay impression that the sequence of "isms" is simply arbitrary. Still, a quick review of the succession of modern art styles indicates that, while their dynamic may indeed be governed by an inner logic, it is a rather different one from that of Vasari, which posits, among other things, increasingly higher levels of naturalism and idealization--neither of them qualities rated highly by most modern artists.
In fact the only historical sequence that closely resembles Vasari's account of Italian art is the Greek trajectory from the archaic period onwards. Even in this light, though, the similarity may be exaggerated by Vasari's ultimate dependence on Pliny, so that he tailors his account to agree with that of the Roman writer. It may be then that the tale Vasari tells is a persuasive one, but only for the period chosen--from ca. 1250 to ca. 1550. So anchored as it is, the dynamic may be conditioned by other factors than the formal criteria the Italian writer tends to favor. The Dutch sociologist Bram Kempers has proposed that Vasari's three phases correspond to three types of patronage which dominate in succession--first the mendicant orders and the city communes join to produce one type of art, then the great merchant families create a second, and finally (in the third stage) the princely and papal courts take the lead.xl This theory appeals to the our own interest in the social foundations of art, as expressed through patronage, but further exploration will be needed to determine if its ultimate validity.
In addition to his sense of sequence, Vasari was also sensitive to the individual qualities of artists. Did he have in addition a concept of period style?  Yes, but with limitations.  He did not employ the term stile, a literary word that migrated into the visual arts only later.xli Still he entertained a concept that comes close to our idea of period style. One "style," noted above, is the maniera greca (Byzantine art); fettered by convention it was unable to rise above a certain level. The maniera greca came into being when the maniera antica of the good Greek and Roman artists faded.  This good manner is not permanently lost; in fact the Italians of the Renaissance revived and perfected it.  Another style, which Vasari discusses only in connection with architecture, is the maniera tedesca, or German manner.  This he especially condemns for its departure from good constructional practice.
Thus there are two bad styles and one good one.  Vasari was far from the modern conception of the value neutrality of styles.  In his view judgment is inseparable from the practice of stylistic discrimination.  Indeed the word discrimination says it all.  Still, an important advance occurred in that Vasari showed that one could discuss styles in a compara­tive way.  Moreover, different modes can coexist at the same time. Indeed this coexist­ence is inevitable as one style strives to oust another.
These considerations do not exhaust the dimensions of Vasari's concept of style--which he generally renders with the world maniera.  It could be said that Vasari had a two-fold concept of style. First, personal style as of Giotto or a group of artists working so closely together that they have a collec­tive style. Second, superpersonal style representative of epochs or coun­tries.  This distinction between the more particular and the general understanding of style became common only in the second half of the eighteenth century.
            It will not have escaped notice that there are xenophobic elements in Vasari's ideas. He rejects foreign "influences," despising Gothic architec­ture as a product of German domination of his country. Foreign rule and the bad art it brought must alike be overcome.  Vasari implicitly linked freedom from alien domination with the acquisition of good art. Yet we must not depict him as a precursor of democracy. He was a loyal servant of the Medici dukes, and the privileged place occupied by Tuscany in the Lives suited their sense of cultural aggrandizement, while flattering them as patrons of great art.
The Life of Fra Filippo Lippi (ca. 1406-1496) is a typical "portrait" in Vasari's work.  Since Lippi lived in a relatively recent period, Vasari is able to offer a number of piquant details.  The artist was an orphan brought up by monks, who early neglected his abc's to practice drawing instead.  He was lucky enough to watch Masaccio at work in the Brancacci chapel.  Abducted by Muslim raiders and taken to North Africa, Lippi is freed when his portrait drawing of his Moorish master is noticed. His erratic ways caused Cosimo de' Medici to lock him up in his palace until he had finished some frescoes. However, Fra Filippo escaped by means of an improvised rope ladder and spent several agreeable nights in the red-light district. Vasari does not condemn Lippi's womanizing as such, but views it as a professional hindrance. Nonetheless, Vasari presents his accomplishments in painting sympathetically.
Another eccentric painter was Il Sodoma (1477-1549), whose birth name was Giovanni Antonio Bazzi.  He spent the bulk of his professional life in Siena, with two periods in Rome.  His success with contemporaries stemmed from his ability to fuse the rigors of the high Renaissance style with the more picturesque local traditions of Sienese painting.
Vasari mentions two personal characteristics.  “Since he always had about him boys and beardless youths, whom he loved more than is decent, he acquired the by-name of Sodoma; and in this name, far from taking umbrage and offense, he used to glory, writing about it in songs and verses in terza rima, and singing them to the lute with no little facility.”  Moreover, “he delighted to have about the house many kinds of extraordinary animals, badgers, squirrels, apes, marmosets, dwarf asses, , . . little horses from Elba, jays, dwarf fowls, Indian turtle-doves, and other suchllike animals, as many as he could lay his hands on.”  Far from reproving his pederasty and his animal hoarding, his contemporaries found these oddities entertaining, especially as he conducted his lifestyle in a merry spirit, entertaining everyone he knew.
Nor does Vasari himself condemn il Sodoma for these behaviors.  Instead, he faults him for having a poor work ethic, rushing commissions to completion and failing to provide adequately for his old age.  
               Vasari had a sincere regard for art as a profession, and ad­dressed himself to the educated public and to artists. In his very different way, he joined Alberti in seeking to enhance the professional status of artists. He thought that only a few rare geniuses can be forgiven for not finishing work (Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo). Meeting one's profession­al commitments is important.  In this way the artist can secure a stable income and provide for his dependents and heirs--a thoroughly middle-class approach.
Even though the second edition of 1568, more complex because of the masses of new information that had to be accommo­dated, is less clearly directed to a single point--the achievement of Michelangelo--the idea that his imposing achievement marks a culmination persists.  The moody Florentine had not only emulated the ancients but surpassed them.  Inherent in Vasari's celebration of the pinnacle of art is the possibility that the attainment of such heights could only be followed by a descent.  Vasari employs two metaphors for this decline. The first is the popular medieval image of the Wheel of Fortune, introduced by Boethius. Just when one reaches the top of the wheel one is threatened by the caprice of Fortuna who at any point may cast one onto the downward slope. The other metaphor is the comparison with human life, also well known in the Middle Ages. Great ages of art have their birth, maturity, senility, and death. Somewhat lamely, Vasari avers that the information he has assembled must stand as a bulwark against decline.
Indeed, the danger is signaled by the very name given to those who would imitate Michelangelo: the Maniera.xlii  As noted above, Vasari uses the term maniera to refer generically to a style or mode of art production.  Yet when used absolutely--the Maniera--the word comes to take on something of the connotations of our term "mannered."  Thus the Maniera following Michelangelo came to signify a facile manipulation of technical means that fosters elegance, but is lacking in inner substance.  Although modern art historians have sought, with some success, to rehabilitate the artists they call the Mannerists, in their own day they caused unease and dissatisfaction.  One of the features of the new trend that set in with the 1590s under Caravaggio and the Carracci was to replace the Maniera with a new, more vigorous art.
In looking through the Lives one notices that the Italian emphasis is overwhelming.  The important Flemish school merits only a few sentences.  Vasari's chauvinism was even narrower.  A native of Arezzo near Florence, he believed that Tuscan artists were generally the best.  Vasari's claim rests on two supports.  First, Tuscany, especially its capital, Florence, was immensely important, and had been so for generations.  The region also exported artists: most of the leading masters summoned to work at the papal court in Rome were Tuscan.  Second, there is a linguistic reinforcement, the more powerful perhaps for its not being directly stated.  In the sixteenth century many discussions about the vernacular arose. The ideal language for books, it was generally conceded, was Latin, which had international currency.  However, if one wanted to use a vernacular dialect, only Tuscan was really suitable.  Tuscan had been used by Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio--the "big three" of Italian literature--and was adopted by many writers not of Tuscan birth.  Even today it is the basis of standard Italian. The Tuscan language of art could then bask in the reflected glory of the Tuscan tongue itself. As noted above, it was also professionally advantageous for Vasari to flatter the Medici, rulers of Florence and Tuscany.
From our present knowledge of Italian Renaissance art one particular Vasarian prejudice is notable.  The Aretine tended to discount the particular qualities of north Italian artists. Most glaringly, in view of their enormous merits, Vasari underrates artists from Venice, a political rival of Florence. The Venetian tradition displayed an emphasis on color and painterly bravura, while Florentine artists stressed disegno (in the specific sense of line).  The linear style was highly esteemed while reliance on color was disparaged as more sensual, lower, less intellectual. The purpose of art, Vasari's reasoning went, is to ennoble and edify, to raise the perceiver into higher realms. But many art lovers found it hard to deny the great beauty of the Venetian works they had seen.  This recognition engendered a conflict between theory and actual perceptions.
The inherent skewing on grounds of local patriotism, one might almost say boosterism, was eventually to stimulate replies and counterhis­tories, first from other parts of Italy and then from northern Europe.  But the principle of celebrating one's "own artists" lingered.  Some would say this limitation lingers in our Eurocen­tric attitude to art.  In Janson's History of Art, one of several widely used textbooks, the many manifestations of non-European art are sandwiched into a few aside-like sections, which do not detain the reader much from the grand sweep of European art.
Until the 1930s, specialized Vasari scholarship was preoccupied with scholarly rectification ("rehabbing"),  correcting mistakes in dating, location, and attribution. But in recent decades, a new appreciation has come to the fore: Vasari's literary edifice has begun to be acknowledged as a work of art itself. With a new respect, contemporary scholars have reexamined the original conceptual machinery, including his overarching historical structure and his semantic apparatus--the meaning of words and their function in the whole.

Artistic personality and sexual variance.
Ascanio Condivi's Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti appeared in 1553 when its subject was seventy-eight. A minor artist from the Marches, Condivi was an intimate, humbly catering to the great master's eccentricities. As he was genuinely humble, Michelangelo's Boswell felt no sense of rivalry, as a more ambitious artist might, but only admiration and a sincere wish to be useful. Written with the active collaboration of its subject, the biography might almost be described as an "as-told-to" production. Some parts of it seem in fact to have been dictated. Naturally, the main emphasis lies on the works; however, in the case of the protracted labor on the Julius Tomb, which Condivi brands a "tragedy," the complex negotiations which often lay behind Michelangelo's supposed inability to finish his works are laid bare. Cautiously, Condivi addresses the question of Michelangelo's emotional nature, discussing the Platonic love that occupied him in his later years. In the opening pages he offers an astrological explanation of his subject's character, attributing it to the joint influences of the planets Mercury and Venus. Since the time of Ptolemy, the combination had been regarded as inclining the subject to be attracted more to boys than to women. This diagnosis may have helped Michelangelo to understand his own sexual nature as not something bizarre or criminal but a part of the natural order. Yet times were changing. With the climate of the Counter-Reformation turning increasingly chilly, this subject disappeared from the discourse.
Condivi’s observations suggest a brief excursus on the sexual orientation of Italian Renaissance artists, a number of whom were homosexual or bisexual.
In his pioneering monograph on Donatello (Princeton, 1963) H. W. Janson courageously entered into a territory that had long been taboo in modern scholarship, by presenting contemporary documents attesting to the homosexuality of Donatello, who had a veritable passion for teenage boys.  Evidence about Donatello's sexuality stems from a collection of anecdotes set down about 1480, which are sometimes attributed to Angelo Poliziano. Seven of these anecdotes concern Donatello, who was renowned for a sharp wit and called "very tricky (intricato)" by the Duke of Mantua.
Three anecdotes eroticize Donatello's relations with apprentices. He hired especially beautiful boys, and supposedly "stained" them so that no one else would find them pleasing; when one assistant left after a quarrel, they made up by "laughing" at each other, a slang term for sex. Revealingly, two of these anecdotes were omitted from some sixteenth-century editions, and the one on laughter was glossed as "licenzioso."

In an earlier contribution, of 1957, Janson suggested that the anecdotes threw light on the "strangely androgynous" bronze David, a nude figure that is indeed disturbingly sensual.
             Janson, himself heterosexual, was perhaps the first modern scholar to break fully with the old taboos.  All too often, the “deviant” orientation of the artists had been passed over in silence.  Another technique was to “detox” them by suggesting that while the figure may have been inclined that way, he rarely if ever indulged in the actual practice. This gambit approximates to denial by limitation.  A case in point is Sigmund Freud’s 1910 essay on Leonardo da Vinci, which had the merit of opening up the subject for psychoanalytic examination (“Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood”).  Freud held that Leonardo was homosexually inclined but celibate in practice. Ostensibly, he sublimated his erotic inclinations into endless research. As recently as January 1998, Carlo Pedretti, a well-known Leonardo scholar asserted in a press release that Leonardo could not have been homosexual because he “appreciated women.”  This claim simply recycles the old canard that men become homosexual because of their aversion to women.  Someone who does not show this aversion cannot, by definition, be gay!

In 1476 Leonardo was arrested in Florence for engaging in sodomy along with three other men.  The charges were eventually dropped because the evidence was uncertain.  Proponents of the limitation thesis, suggest that after this scare Leonardo decided to abandon same-sex relations as too dangerous.  There is no evidence for this claim of abstention, and much that is against it.  Michael Rocke reports that in a fictional dialogue on l’amore masculino (male love) written by the contemporary art  theorist Gian Paolo Lomazzo (1538-1592) Leonardo appears as one of the protagonists and declares, “Know that male love is exclusively the product of virtue which, joining men together with the diverse affections of friendship, makes it so that from a tender age they would enter into the manly one as more stalwart friends.” In the dialogue, the interlocutor inquires of Leonardo about his relations with his assistant, Salai, “Did you play the game from behind which the Florentines love so much?”  (The monograph by Michael Rocke, Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture n Renaissance Florence, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996, is a major landmark in the study of this subject.)
In his drawings Leonardo showed great interest in male anatomy, producing several highly detailed studies of the anal sphincter. When he died, he left some of his works to Salai (Gian Giacomo Capretti da Oreno), while his more recent companion Francesco Melzi inherited his notebooks.
The elegant works of Sandro Botticelli (ca. 1444-1510) brought the early Renaissance in Florence to a triumphant close. In fact, Botticelli's paintings capture perfectly the essence of a transient era. The remarkable beauty of the artist's style stems from a thoroughgoing fusion of the older linear manner known as the International Style with the new sense of formal rigor demanded by Renaissance ideals. Although most of Botticelli's surviving works were religious - responding to standard patterns of patronage - he also excelled in portraiture as well as mythological allegory of classical derivation. Paintings in the latter category, above all the celebrated Primavera (Spring) and the Birth of Venus, were created in an atmosphere of philosophical syncretism generated by the Neo-Platonic movement. The chief figure in this trend, Marsilio Ficino, advocated a concept of Socratic love, a cautious and high-minded rationalization of his own homoerotic leanings. Moreover, the influ­ence of another closeted homophile Humanist, the poet and philologist Angelo Poliziano has been detected in Botticelli's works.
                 More concrete evidence of Bot­ticelli's sexual orientation is available. On November 16, 1502, when the artist was in his late fifties, someone dropped a denunciation in the box of the sinister Uffiziali di Notte, a municipal committee concerned with morals charges. According to this anonymous informant, the artist had been engaging in sodomy with one of his young assistants. Perhaps because of the painter's venerable age and high professional standing, no further action was taken. Botticelli never married, and in fact was said to have dreaded this state which he regarded as a nightmare. 

In the last decade of his life Bot­ticelli had the misfortune of seeing his art come to be disregarded as old fashioned, and he painted little. On his death his artistic reputation fell into neglect, a state that lasted some 250 years. The triumphant revival of Botticelli, which was made possible in the light of more inclusive nineteenth-century taste, owes much to two homophile writers: the aesthete Walter Pater, who included an essay on the painter in his immensely popular The Renaissance (1868), and the scholar Herbert Home, who published his great monograph on Botticelli in 1908.
            A sculptor, goldsmith, memoirist, and flamboyant pederast, Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) may rank as the last major artist of the Italian Renaissance.  Apprenticed to a goldsmith, he excelled in that branch of art.  As such, he was called upon to fulfill major commissions throughout Italy and in France. 

On three occasions Cellini was charged with sodomitical conduct. The first time, on January 14 1523, the artist was condemned to pay together with his accomplice Giovanni Rigoli) twelve bushels of flour because of an act of sodomy with a young man named Domenico di ser Giuliano da Ripa. The artist got off easily, for the law provided for a fine of up to thirty gold florins. Since the artist was under 25 years of age, he probably saw his sentence reduced. In 1548 a new denunciation came from a certain Margherita regarding her son Vincenzo, but for some reason Cellini escaped prosecution,  On the last occasion, however, in 1556 the damage was serious.  The artist had had a quarrel with his assistant Fernando di Montepulciano, whom he discharged. Fernando took revenge by complaining to the authorities. Apparently, the occasions of sodomy were numerous with this individual, and Cellini was assessed a huge fine of fifty gold scudi.  He was sentenced to four years in prison, being excluded “in perpetuo” from holding any public office.
Thanks to the intervention of Duke Cosimo, the sentence was commuted to four years' house arrest. During his years of confinement, Cellini strove to rehabilitate his reputation. He produced works of religious art and took minor orders. He fathered a son in 1560 by his servant Piera, whom he married in 1563. They subsequently produced three more children.
During his period of house arrest, Cellini began his celebrated Vita. In this autobiography, the artist recounts his acquaintanceships with princes and popes and his great achievements as sculptor and goldsmith, while disavowing, with wounded innocence, his reputation as a pederast.
He implies that he is a ladies' man, but cannot resist mentioning that once he took his apprentice Diego in drag to a party of artists and their whores. The boy was voted the most beautiful prostitute in Florence, which nearly caused a riot when one of the girls groped Diego and discovered the truth of his sex.  And there is more, for chapter 71 of Book Two may be read as a defense of sodomy, that "noble practice" indulged in by "the greatest emperors and the greatest kings of the world."  Cellini claims, rather improbably, that he himself was not able to rise to the level of the “noble practice,” a claim that seems somewhat tongue and cheek.

Full of braggadocio and indiscrete revelations, Cellini's Life was something of a hot potato, and it was not published until 1724.  In the following century the romantics admired it for its picture of the artist as a misunderstood genius who stands above the rules that govern the rest of humanity. In fact the Cellini autobiography is a remarkably present-minded work, showing that Italian artistic life in this period had become so rich and various that, if one chose, it was possible to ignore earlier precedents. At the beginning of his Treatise on Goldsmith's Work, however, Celliini does sketch a brief outline of the craft, going back to the time of Cosimo de' Medici, when Donatello, Brunelleschi, and Ghiberti flourished. Since Cellini was not an educated man, perhaps no more extensive retrospect could be expected.

The Vasari Legacy.
            Vasari's accomplishment was so vast that for some time no credible competitors appeared.  Yet a minor figure offers an interest­ing contrast. Alessandro Lamo rushed in where angels feared to tread.  Hailing from Cremona, a Po valley town which was not a major art center, Lamo published a Discorso (1584) providing information on a number of Cremonese artists, especial­ly Bernar­dino Campi.  Lamo took exception to Vasari's poor treatment of Campi, which he sought to remedy in a prolix biography of his hero.  Not surprisingly, this book gained few readers outside of the town it sought to glorify.  It was hard to compete with Vasari, and Lamo was regarded as a flagrant practitioner of campanilismo, that particularly limited form of boosterism that takes the limits of the world from what can be descried from the local bell tower or campanile. Probably only Venice--and possibly Naples--­could have created a full scale counterhistory at this time, but the daunting challenge was not taken up for a number of decades. 
The Vasarian text and the Vasarian paradigm held the field for a century.  By the second half of the seventeenth century, however, things were different, for many new artists had appeared that Vasari could not have covered since they flourished after his death.  By the 1660s efforts were underway in several Italian cities to replace, or substantially supplement, Vasari's Lives
The most imposing accomplishment of this kind was the Felsina Pittrice (1678) of the Bolognese scholar and collector Count Carlo Cesare Malvasia (1616-1693), on which he worked for many years.  This work centers on the painters of Bologna (Felsina is an old name for the city), a focus that is not as eccentric as it seems because of the prominence of the city in Malvasia's day.  His book is divided into four parts, the first three of which correspond basically to Vasari's three epochs.  Towards the end of part three, which extends beyond Vasari's time frame, Malvasia was able to introduce new masters, especially members of the Carracci family, who had labored to overcome the mannerist detour.  In this way he sought to dispel the fear that Italian art had entered into a permanent decline. The decline, if such there had been, was temrporary. The fourth part, starting with the brilliant figure of Guido Reni, is entirely new, concentrating on artists who were active in the seventeenth century.  Felsina pittrice is notable for including biographies of two Bolognese women artists, Lavinia Fontana and Elisabetta Sirani.
Malvasia revealed his admiration for the Vasari in several ways.  For example, he purloined the gambit of heading each biography with a portrait of the artist.  Such features notwithstanding, Giovanna Perini, who is making a new study of Malvasia, has emphasized the Bolognese scholar's independence.xliii  He departed from the structure of Vasari's biographies, which derived from the rhetorical tradition, in favor of a more open form, one that permitted the insertion of original documents.  In some of his accounts Malvasia brought out the collaborative nature of the art enterprise by discussing more than one artist.  Methodologically, he profited from his knowledge of advances in scholarship beyond the Alps, as seen in the work of the ecclesiastical historians known as the Maurists and the Bollandists.  And of course he did not stint in his correction of what he perceived as errors of Vasari, especially as regards the dignity of Bolognese culture.  He pointed out that Vasari was mistaken in ascribing the emergence from medieval painting exclusively to the Florentine Cimabue, inasmuch as there are strong indications of similar advances elsewhere.  As modern art historians would say, the emergence from the Byzantinizing dugento (thirteenth century) was a general process, not the exceptional achievement of one person. Nonethe­less, for all his merits, Malvasia remained within the Vasarian para­digm.  He still saw his work in a civic, rather than a universal context, and he still operated in terms of discrete biographies rather than a free-flowing history. 
Under the leadership of Cardinal Prince Leopoldo de' Medici (1627-1675), Florence reburnished its scholarly prestige. The chief curator of Leopoldo's remarkable collections was Filippo Baldinucci (1625-1696), who toiled for many years in the creation of a new magnum opus, the Notizie de' professori del disegno (1681-1728) in six volumes.xliv Not theoretically innovative, this work was intended to bring Vasari up to date. Although Baldinucci emphasized the importance of Tuscan artists, he strove to be fair: his biography of the Roman Gian Lorenzo Bernini is still respected as a source. Ever diligent, Baldinucci also compiled the Vocabolario toscano dell'arte del disegno (1681), the first true dictionary of art terms.
 A third scholar of the period was the Roman Giovan Pietro Bellori (1613-1696), papal commissioner of antiquities and librarian of Queen Christina of Sweden, who had settled in the eternal city. Although he witnessed the great age of the baroque, as exemplified by the activity of Bernini and Pietro da Cortona, Bellori's tastes were decidedly antibaroque and classicizing. In this vein he gave great impetus to the Raphael cult in his account of the Vatican frescos: Descrizione delle immagini dipinte da Raffaelle d'Urbino nelle camere del Palazzo Vaticano (1696). Vasari, though praising Raphael, had given final preference to Michelangelo. By Bellori's time, however, Raphael's star was definitely in the ascendancy, and Michelangelo was not to begin to recover his former eminence until the latter part of the eighteenth century.
As originally published in 1680, Bellori's masterpiece Le vite de' pittori, scultori e architetti moderni (1680) offers biographies of only twelve artists: Annibale Carracci, Agostino Carracci, Domenico Fontana, Federico Barocci, Caravaggio, Rubens, Van Dyck, François Duquesnoy, Domenico Zampieri, Lanfranco, Algardi, and Poussin.xlv As this list shows, Bellori renounced any aim of providing a comprehensive roster of all notable artists--even his beloved Raphael is missing. Instead, he concentrates on figures active since the "reform" of art initiated by the Carracci at the end of the sixteenth century. Bellori finds room to profile four foreigners: Rubens, van Dyck, Duquesnoy, and his friend and hero Poussin, but significantly not Rembrandt.  All the foreign nominees had close connections with Italy. However, as a sign of the times the book is dedicated to the powerful minister of Louis XIV, Jean-Baptiste Colbert.
Disparaging the "excesses" of Borromini and Bernini, Bellori calls for a reform of art based on strict classical principles.  The aim of art is beauty, and this can be achieved in two ways: inductively, so to speak, by following the old Greek prescription of extracting the finest elements of a number of beautiful models and combining them; and deductively, by working, as he claims Phidias did, from an intellectual Idea that is present in the mind. Perhaps in the end the first procedure is reducible to the second for one needs an awareness of the Idea to select the appropriate elements from the models. As he acknowledges Bellori derives this counsel of consulting the Idea from neo-Platonic sources written in late antiquity. Another classical notion is that art should avoid the extremes. Good art must shun the errors of mannerism, exemplified by the Cavaliere d'Arpino, and of naturalism, incarnated in the forceful works of Caravaggio.  By distancing himself from many of the leading artists of his own time, Bellori set the stage for the art historian as arbiter of contemporary art, taking a stance against what he regards as "corruptions" of the art impulse.  Eventually this judgmental stance was to filter down to journalists, so that nineteenth-century France hosted a whole tribe of aesthetic quibblers who set their cap against the latest developments of contemporary art--all in the name of preserving "values" and even of "good morals."

Art History Outside Italy.
With their triumphant sense of the glorious attainments of Italian art, Vasari and most of those compatriots who followed him neglected the artists of northern Europe. In fact, the spread of Vasarian ideas signaled a narrowing of the more generous outlook that had prevailed during the fifteenth century, when northern artists were treated with respect. Beginning with Albrecht Dürer, major northern artists traveled to Italy to learn; in some cases their experience placed them in position to fuse the two traditions. In his contributions to theory and art history this fusion was effected by the Fleming Carel van Mander (1548-1606), who worked mainly in Haarlem. The pupil of the artist-writer Lucas de Heere of Ghent (whose writings are unfortunately lost), van Mander spent four crucial years in Italy (1573-77). The crowning achievement of his life was his vast Het Schilder-boeck which appeared in Alkmar in 1604.xlvi
Following the local tradition of the Rederijkers or rhetoricians, who composed didactic verses, van Mander opens his work with a rhymed discussion of the fundamentals of painting. There follow three major sections on the history of art cast in the form of accounts of individual biographies. As would be expected the data on ancient artists largely stem from Pliny the Elder. The second historical section deals with Italy and naturally relies on Vasari, though some other sources were consulted. The part of the Schilderboek most consulted nowadays is the account of Flemish, Dutch, and German painting from the time of van Eyck to van Mander's own day. Finally, he offers two parts which are both practical and theoretical. An exposition of Ovid's Metamorphoses is designed to help artists create sophisticated iconography and to enable collectors and connoisseurs to understand their creations. The work concludes with a more general section on Greco-Roman symbolism and mythology. Apart from its value as a source of information for northern artists, the Schilder-boeck constitutes a kind of overture to the golden age of Dutch painting in the seventeenth century.
Van Mander's approach to Vasari was respectful, and he borrowed from his Italian predecessor not only information about artists but also aesthetic terms and concepts.xlvii He asks, however, that the artists of Northern Europe receive their due. Making an interesting point that the color symbolism of the Javanese is entirely different from that of Europe, he approaches--though gingerly--the possibility that cultural differences might be relative rather than absolute. If this view were fully articulated, the Northern artists would be simply different from the Italian ones, and any competitive ranking of the two schools would be idle. It would take two centuries until, under the aegis of the Romantic movement, the full consequences of these intimations of cultural relativism could be worked out.
Ravaged by the Thirty Years' War (1618-48), Germany was slower to establish its own historiographical tradition. A major step was taken, however, by another painter-writer, Joachim von Sandrart (1606-81), whose Teutsche Academie was published in 1675-79 in  two lavish folio volumes illustrated with engravings.xlviii Sandrart's work opens with a general introduction to the arts stemming from Italian sources and from Carel van Mander. Paradoxically, this exposition reveals both slavish plagiarism and enterprising curiosity, the former seen in his dependence on his sources (whom he does not name), the second in unusual sections, including one on painting in East Asia. The main part of the book presents biographies of leading painters from antiquity onwards. During his adventurous life Sandrart had traveled extensively, from England to Malta, and he utilized his experiences to provide much useful information on contemporary artists. Appropriately, he concludes the lives with his own autobiography. The concluding part of the book offers an original treatment of collections and museums, followed by a discussion on Ovid taken from van Mander.
The major Spanish work was the creation of the Andalusian painter Antonio Palomino (1655-1726). Writing towards the end of the Spanish Golden Age, Palomino was employed from 1678 to 1724 at the Spanish court, where he observed his chief contemporaries at first hand. The first volume of his Museo pictórico y escala óptica (1715) treats theoretical matters, a topic that the writer felt necessary since the status of painting as a liberal art was not yet well established in the Spain of his time. The remaining two parts appeared in one volume in 1724. The first of these parts deals with the practice of painting; the second provides 226 biographies, many quite short.xlix A few foreign painters such as Titian, Rubens, and Sofonisba Gentileschi are included. Without a doubt Diego Velázquez is the hero of Palomino's story, much as Michelangelo dominated Vasari's work. Palomino denies Spanish medieval art any validity at all, denouncing the eleventh-century Madrid Beatus manuscript, now regarded as one of the glories of Mozarabic illumination, as an "abomination" that can only excite laughter and scorn. Unchauvinistically, he attributes to Italy the introduction of good artistic standards to Spain. As this improvement occurred, in his view, only towards the end of the fifteenth century, he ignores all art produced before that time.
The English counterpart of these works came last. The Anecdotes of Painting in England (1762-80) issued from the pen of an extraordinary eccentric, the wealthy Horace Walpole, Fourth Earl of Orford  (1717-1797).l Walpole made two contributions to aesthetics in his own right: his country house at Strawberry Hill, the harbinger of the Gothic revival style in architecture and his "Gothick" novel The Castle of Otranto (1764). While these works, advanced for their time, rank as forerunners of romanticism, his art-historical scholarship was more traditional. What he termed "his Vasarihood" was triggered by his purchase of the papers of the engraver George Vertue (1684-1756), who beginning in 1718 had compiled a mass of rambling notes on the development of the arts in Walpole reorganized these jottings, which originally filled 40 notebooks, adding material of his own. Alternating general history and biography, Walpole's Anecdotes covers painting from the earliest times for which information was available to the accession of George III in 1738. In keeping with his personal inclinations, Walpole attempted to supply some information on the Middle Ages. But since this era was almost completely neglected by his sources he was able to achieve little here, and the task of limning the remarkable history of English medieval art was necessarily left for later generations. Despite his personal sympathy, attested by his own "Gothick" house, the English scholar counseled that one should be wary of being misled by patriotism into exaggerate the merits of the rude early works of the national patrimony.
Walpole's most remarkable feature was his arrangement of the artists by reigns, regimes  where the success of their cultural production depended on the monarch's character. Thus Henry VIII and Charles I fosterd the arts, while Edward VI and James II did not. This focus on reigns may be regarded as one of the sources of the modern habit of writing of Carolingian, Second Empire (France), and Victorian art.

The Renaissance (Vasarian) Paradigm Examined as a Whole.
Imperfectly preserved as it is, the Greco-Roman tradition of art history, surveyed in Chapter Two, was conducted by two types of writers. At the beginning of the development stood Xenocrates, an artist who became an art historian. The concluding figure was Pliny the Elder, a wealthy connoisseur and enclyclopedist with no professional art experience. Since the goal of both types is the organization and presentation of knowledge, the difference may seem insignificant. Yet it yields different emphases. Committed as they are to the affirmation of particular styles, artists, acting as art historians, may tend to give more attention and approval to artists and styles with which they feel some affinity, while the scholar-connoisseur may engage with a wider variety of styles. Needless to say, there are exceptions on both sides. Scholar-connoisseurs may be closely involved with particular living artists and absorb their preferences and prejudices. Another contrast point is that artist-writers, more than "pure" scholars, tend to have a "collegiate" sense of professional solidarity with the confrères of their craft, so that questions of status and professional responsibility loom large. These writers are naturally involved with the matter of the production of art. Conversely, scholar connoisseurs tend to be more responsive to the interests of the consumer and beholder.
Let us examine the major figures in relation to this professional contrast. Vasari, who set forth the paradigm by gathering earlier writings and supplementing them with new information and observations, exemplifies the artist-scholar. Significantly, in the discussions that triggered Vasari's effort, the possibility of a nonartist, a clergyman, taking on the job was mooted--but no such person came forward. Of the four foreign figures, who extended the Vasarian paradigm, three were artist-writers. In the seventeenth century, Carel van Mander and Joachim von Sandrart turned to art history after considerable personal practice of painting. The same is true of Antonio Palomino in the eighteenth. It seems that as a rule the art history tradition seems to have been started in each country by an individual thoroughly experienced in the practice of the arts. The one exception, Horace Walpole, is only partially such, for Walpole depended heavily on the notes made by Vertue, an artist.
Four "consolidators" are all scholars without significant art experience. Malvasia was an ecclesiastic and collector; Baldinucci an official at the Tuscan court; and Bellori an antiquary who held various offices in Rome. Walpole was a wealthy dilettante, able to devote his leisure to private pursuits.
Another question is how did the ideas contained in these works circulate? Prior to nineteenth-century changes in printing, books were generally beyond the reach of all but the upper middle class and the aristocracy. Even so there were differences. The first edition of Vasari's work seems to have been relatively inexpensive. (Unfortunately, we do not know how many copies were printed.) As time went on, the fashion for large folio volumes, purchased by wealthy amateurs through subscription, became more and more dominant. While no comprehensive studies have been made of the sales and availability of the books discussed, it is safe to say that they circulated among an elite. Some of the ideas they embodied spread in "trickle-down" fashion. A stimulating assortment of aesthetic ideas appeared in Richard Steele's London periodical The Tatler (1709-11), and in The Spectator, a daily edited by Steele and Joseph Addison (1711-1714). Periodicals of this type--note that the first real art magazines did not appear until the early nineteenth century--were avidly read in coffee houses and other places of public accommodation. For artists, the academies, to be discussed below, were important sources of information, as transmitted through formal lectures and teaching and also by conversations among the students.

Historical Patterns.
Examination of the figures discussed in the previous sections shows that the tradition of art historical writing had begun to assume coherence of theme, vocabulary, and exposition. As a genre it was coming to enjoy a significant degree of autonomy.
However, art history did not flourish in a vacuum; interaction with established procedures of biography and history had left its mark. The biographical method adopted by Vasari, and continued in some fashion by all of his followers, assumed that the artist is to some extent a "role model." In this light individual artists might be diligent and gifted advancers of their own careers and of the estate of art as a whole, or they might be self-indulgent laggards who fail to live up to their own potential. This notion that history teaches by examples, stems from classical antiquity as seen in the Lives of the Greeks and Romans of Plutarch. The popularity of the exemplar theory was unchallenged until the end of the eighteenth-century, when groups of scholars, known as historicists, began to assert that impersonal trends and currents were more significant than individuals.
Vasari perceived no conflict between his concern with individual achievement and his concept of art history as having three stages. As noted in a previous chapter, the tendency to look for a pattern of three stages formed part of the heritage of medieval historiography. It took on a particular urgency in the mystical context of Joachimite thought, which emphasized the special perfection of the third stage.
Contrasting with this prophetic notion, some early modern political theorists fashioned a more prosaic three-stage scheme, elaborated from hints in Aristotle. This model portrayed humanity as evolving through an initial stage of hunting and gathering, to pastoralism, and finally to agriculture. Following the lead of the legal theorist Samuel Pufendorf (1632-1694), some added a fourth stage: commerce.lii It is perhaps significant that Pufendorf's idea appeared at about the same time that Malvasia was expanding Vasari's three eras into four.
Four eras also characterize another scheme, that of Voltaire. The French scholar held that Europe had experienced four eras of supreme cultural perfection: the Athens of Pericles, the Rome of Augustus, the Florence of the Medici, and the France of Louis XIV. Since Louis XIV had died before Voltaire wrote, it follows that the savant was living in a state of relative decline, the Silver Age. Writing from different premises, this assumption of decline is implicit in a number of the art historians reviewed, who are aware that they are reviewing glories that are essentially past.

History of Architecture.
Biographies of architects had figured in Vasari's great work, but they tended to disappear from the histories created by those who followed him. The successors were interested most of all in making sure that the accomplishments of painting in their native region or country received proper recognition. The fact that the ancients had not provided an evolutionary template for architecture, comparable to those that Pliny transmitted for sculpture and painting, was a hindrance. Moreover, the architectural treatises by such figures as Palladio, Serlio, and Scamozzi, impressive as they were, concentrated on careful presentation of the classical orders as well as a typology of buildings (palaces, theaters, stadiums, etc.). They seemed to regard good architecture, which they were eager to promote as a substitute for the vagaries of the lingering Gothic tradition, as something timeless and unchanging.
One interesting theme that was to recur later emerges in an observation contained in an anonymous 1510 report on the Arch of Constantine in Rome. The writer notes that the architecture of the arch, which he regards as excellent, is not in accord with the mediocre sculpture that was carved to adorn it. Thus architecture might proceed according to a different timetable than the other arts, reaching maturity later but flourishing for a correspondingly longer period. This acknowledgement that individual arts might be "out of synch" posed a problem for later writers in the Hegelian tradition who thought that all the arts were ruled by a dominant time spirit, so that the Baroque period, say, presents very similar phenomena in architecture, painting, and sculpture--as well as literature, music, and so forth. But if the arts develop at different rates owing to differing technical problems, we cannot be confident of any a priori assumption of stylistic unity in any given era.
Be this as it may, the first attempt at a synthesis of the history of architecture on a world basis was produced by an Austrian disciple of Bellori, Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach
(1656-1723).liii Active first as a sculptor and medallist, he achieved renown as an architect, with Vienna's Karlskirche ranking as his magnum opus. About 1705 he started work on an ambitious history of architecture. The most immediately striking feature of his Entwurff einer historischen Architektur (1721) is its wealth of panoramic illustrations, sweepingly baroque, with explanatory captions in German and French. Dispensing with the usual account of the five orders, Fischer proceeds in the first book to an account of ancient architecture presented in the format of the Wonders of the World. This section concludes with a reconstruction of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. Since Fischer had not viewed most of the buildings he illustrated, he took his visualizations from other sources, which were not always accurate. His depiction of Stonehenge, for example, comes from Inigo Jones who had "corrected" the monument to agree with his notion of its Roman origin. 
          Fischer's second book provides an expansive account of Roman architecture. It is the third book, however, that is the real bombshell. Here Fischer treats Islamic (Arabic, Turkish, and Persian), as well as Siamese, Chinese, and Japanese architecture. His illustrations of Chinese monuments helped to fuel the growing vogue for Chinoiserie, European buildings and decorations in an adaptation of Chinese style.

Illustrated Books.
Fischer's pictorial plates were not strictly accurate. Few could check them at the sites, and perhaps there was always a tacit understanding that a certain amount of fantasy was permitted. By his time, however, a substantial portion of the European aristocracy had taken the grand tour and familiarized themselves with works of art that they had seen, above all in Italy. The desire to possess was awakened.  Yet even the wealthiest travelers could afford to bring back only a few specimens, often only drawings, of the old masters that were so extolled. They longed for a "museum without walls." Moreover, even if one's memory was very good and one's sketches very accurate, some venerable collections were difficult of access. In order to complete one's understanding of the oeuvre of favorite masters one needed illustrations of works not seen as well as those seen. To meet this demand Italian engravers, such as Marc Antonio Raimondi, began to specialize in the reproduction of noted masterpieces. Eventually, the sale of these was concentrated in the hands of the De' Rossi family in Rome. For a long time these prints were bought individually, like the works they recommended. To increase sales, however, the De' Rossis began to gather the prints in bound form, and many works could only be obtained en bloc in this fashion.liv
There were, of course, other pictorial books. Those inclined to archaeological studies could purchase folio volumes reproducing statues, coins, and inscriptions. But it has been argued that these were reproduced essentially for their documentary rather than aesthetic value. Artists came to treasure emblem books which provided illustrations that they could use for such abstract concepts as Friendship and Abundance. Francis Haskell asserts that the birth of the modern art book (building especially on the De' Rossi enterprise, which stressed the aesthetic rather than the practical appeal of the images) took place in Paris in the There bankers, collectors, and art historians joined together to produce an illustrated catalogue of the finest paintings and drawings gracing European galleries, together with critical commentary. This great work, the Recueil d'Estampes d'après les plus beaux Tableaux, et d'après les plus beaux dessins qui sont en France dans le Cabinet du Roy et dans celui du Duc d'Orléans, et dans autres Cabinets, began to appear in parts in 1723. For some illustrations color was used. Apart from the quality of the reproductions, the key point is the accompaniment of the text with explanatory commentary, whereby the art history guided the student to observe the particular niceties of the works shown. This tradition continues to this day, the only major innovation being the introduction of actual photographs in the second half of the nineteenth century. This custom saved money, since engravers were no longer required, and eliminated the possibility that the style would be traduced--or "improved"--according the personal taste of the engraver or his patron.

The Role of Academies.
Another significant aspect of the vast period under discussion was the spread of academies of art, groups of people who sought to be custodians of the accumulated wisdom of art. Much of the life of art was centralized in the academies, particularly in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, before the notion of "academic" acquired its present pejorative aura.
In fact the first academies of Europe consisted of literary people, often with a philosophical bent but with little interest in the visual arts.lvi As the Greek name suggests, they harked back to the customs of Plato and his followers, gathering for learned papers and witty conversation. Much emphasis has been laid on the activity of Ficino who founded a kind of academy in Florence in the closing decades of the fifteenth century. However, his influence on Michelangelo has probably been exaggerated. This academy dissolved after his death.
Criteria of the true academy, as distinct from informal gatherings or personal friendship networks, may be summarized as follows: (1) an established process of initiation; (2) written rules for admission and continued membership (bylaws). and (3) regular meeting times assuring continuity.  Historically, most academies began in the first half of the sixteenth century. In contrast with the staid and boring academies of later times, they burned with passion.  There was also a great deal of horseplay (not unlike a modern college fraternity). They took names such as The Inflamed Ones and The Humid Ones. Such gatherings were witty and joyous as well as serious.  Later as the academies yielded to the seductions of collaboration with the state and became, in effect, agents for the preservation of bourgeois respectability, this ludic element was driven out.
Some literary accounts preserve the boisterous atmosphere of the early academies.  One of the most amusing ones flourished in Siena. Antonio Vignale (1501-1559) founded the Sienese Accademia degli Intronati ("the stunning ones"), and wrote La Cazzaria, which has gained a certain renown as an early classic of pornography (cazzo = penis).lvii Evidently Vignale's academy had a very unacademic atmosphere, fostering a good deal of persiflage, ribbing, and wordplay.
The academies also produced significant poetry with much veiled eroticism and allusion to political upheaval. Yet the Council of Trent, whose sessions began in 1536, put an end to this licence,  by instituting censorship. By the time real artistic academies were founded, a more sober tone pre­vailed.
The Accademia del Disegno was founded in Florence in 1563 by Grand Duke Cosimo.lviii Enjoying the patronage of the Medici court, it ranked as the first serious academy for artists. The late sixteenth century saw the emergence of a system of "court" artists.  Breaking with the earlier republican tradition, the sixteenth-century court in Florence was a monarchy ruled by often arbitrary absolutists posing, not altogether unsuccessfully, as enlightened patrons. Under the supervision of ruling houses, the academies inevita­bly became more respectable, focusing on regulating artistic behavior.  They replaced the guilds of the Middle Ages which were not only fraternal but very restrictive.  Like the guilds, the academies had the advantages for members of keeping competition under control.
There was in fact a gap between the period of the hegemony of guilds and the full-blown academy regime. Continuity was to some extent assured by confraternities under religious patronage.lix Confraternities satisfied the social function but were not restrictive. Michelangelo never belonged either to a guild or a confraternity: he didn't need to. In his day the situation was relatively fluid, but it was to become increasingly rigid.
In 1648 the French Academy was founded.lx Intended as a state function of the French monarchy, it established artistic standards, promoted the examina­tion of art works to see that they conformed to them, and supervised awarding of prizes. The French Academy enjoyed the direct patronage of the powerful Cardinal Richelieu. The winner of the set competition was sent on scholar­ship to a branch office of the French Academy in Rome, Villa de' Medici. At the outset the French Academy maintained close links with the Roman Academy of San Luca, dominated by Bellori. But soon the shoe was on the other foot, for with the rise of the power of the Sun King Louis XIV France claimed the artistic leadership of Europe.
Central to the ideology of the academies was the cult of antiquity, and in Italy it became a major occupation to copy ancient statues.  From the early sixteenth century onwards sophisticated circles had been repeatedly electrified by the finding of the ancient masterpiece, a process that began with the recovery of the Laocoon group in 1506.lxi
In a typical classroom session an academy artist would be guided in drawing from models, not just live ones but also casts of statues from an­tiquity, striving to capture the qualities embodied therein. Original­ity could be attained, as it were, only by subterfuge.  A conflict sprang up between official classicism and actual practice. The pervasive preaching of the supreme virtues of ancient models created a sense of the ultimate inadequacy of contemporary art.  For Vasari an implicit "fit" existed between the best art of his time and the best standards.  By the time that Bellori wrote, this was no longer so: a kind of alienation had crept in, and this found expression both in the judgmental atmosphere of the academies and the carpings of contemporary art criticism.
A good specimen of the academic program are the lectures of Charles Le Brun (1619-1690).  Their central theme was the idea--also found in Alberti--of decorum.lxii Everything has to be in accord with everything else. Human dignity must be reaffirmed through idealization. Le Brun held that artists should correct their own productions by followi­ng the guidelines set out in his lectures. The precepts were not presented in the abstract; he showed examples of Poussin. If one followed his precepts and examples, then commissi­o­ns from the king were possible.  Le Brun controlled them and, through his decoration of Versailles, had many juicy plums to offer.  Patronage networks of this kind solved the economic problem left by the decay of the guild system. The guild had assured artists of a reasonable income, but they did not have that anymore. The court artist was an employee of the state, giving the honoree a stable economic position and an established social place.
The spread of academies north of the Alps largely parallels that of art historical treatises.  England was one of the last countries to acquire one with the founding of the Royal Academy of Art in 1768.lxiii  The adjective royal, though it reflects the whole trend towards seeking protection of the state, was more of a hope than an established reality in England, though the Royal Academy did enjoy the support of the aristocracy.  The English nobility was particularly given to the custom of the grand tour of the continent as a kind of final educational step.  Returning home, with their taste now firmly set, the young aristocrats could set forth on a path of patronage of the arts, expressed especially in the building and furnishing of vast villas, known as country houses. 
Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), the first president of the Royal Academy, addressed his annual Discourses on Art (1769-1790) to the formation of the superior type of artist that the new institution was meant to produce.  In their polished, printed versions, however, the Discourses were intended to reach well-healed supporters of the arts, the sort of patrons that Reynolds himself depicted in his portraits.lxiv  While the earlier lectures are scrupulously orthodox in their commendation of the need for imitation of good models, the later ones assign imagination a considerable role, showing that Sir Joshua had some sense of the opening phase of the Romantic movement. The Discourses presuppose a knowledge of major works of ancient and Renaissance art.  Yet they can scarcely said to be historical in emphasis, as they single out artists as exemplars rather than as representatives of an overall development of art.lxv

French Innovations.
In France a new institution appeared, the Salons.lxvi  By 1683 they had achieved a real, though informal, status in Paris.  By 1737 the custom of holding them biannually under state supervi­sion was well established.  The salons served as art markets, but also as "taste markets," places where approved works could be displayed and celebrated.  In the salons the paintings were shown without labels. One had to buy a printed brochure, or livret, to learn the names of the artists and the works.  Sometimes there were brief explanatory or critical comments.  Some individuals elected to produce their own pamphlets, but these had to undergo censorship lest they spread subversive ideas.
The most famous creator of these supplements to the official livrets was the multitalented Denis Diderot (1713-1784), one of the editors of the great French Encyclopédie.lxvii  His art commentaries, which began in 1759, were written for circulation among a very select group of royal and aristocratic subscribers in Central and Eastern Europe.lxviii Instead of having the luxury of setting forth general principles, citing a few telling examples to support them, Diderot's nimble mind was confronted with a series of ad hoc encounters.  He had to cope with each work as it came without advance preparation.  The liveliness and intelligence of his efforts, which delighted even those who could not see the works, justify Diderot's status as the first art critic. 
Diderot dared to take on the academy tradition, saying that it left the artist's mind clutter­ed with "ghosts," the afterimages of the plaster casts of antique statuary, which fettered creativity.  However, he clung to his own version of imitation, holding that the artist's task is to attend closely to nature and then resynthesize what he saw.  He also links art closely to morality.  In his Essays on Painting he asserted that "To make virtue desirable, vice odious, and absurdities evident, that is the aim of every honest man who takes up the pen, the brush, or the chisel."  Diderot disdained François Boucher and Jean-Honoré Fragonard as mere triflers trafficking in frivolous sensuality. By contrast the moralistic domestic scenes of Jean-Baptiste Greuze typified the middlebrow, didactic works he favored.  In such comments, rooted in his belief in the need for art to be socially useful, Diderot sometimes sounds like a precursor of the Social­ist Realism of the 1930s.  In fact during that period, leftist publishing houses in France and England issued popular editions of Diderot's works.
In some of his other works Diderot was more advanced.  In his discussion of the natural life on Tahiti (which he had never visited) he recognizes the dignity of non-European cultures.  Of course he does not praise their art, which in any event was not available to him, but Diderot deserves a place in the history of cultural relativism--a trend that was ultimately to free artistic taste from its exclusive dependence on European models.
A self-taught man in the field of art, Diderot could call on no very large stock of earlier works to serve as points of comparison.  His pronounced judgmentalism also stood at variance with the detachment that the historical attitude requires.  In this perspective his work represents a giant step forward for criticism, but a step backward for art history.  It may well be, in fact, that his career marks the dividing line between two sometimes warring modern disciplines: criticism, "passionate and partisan" as Baudelaire was later to put it, which attempts to sort out contemporary art on an independent, subjective basis without institutional support, vs. university-based art history, which endeavors to look at past art factually and dispassionately.
Diderot belonged to a new group in the eighteenth century, the intellectual.  The sociologist Karl Mannheim went so far as to speak of the "free-floating intellectual."  This perception of detachment may be an exaggeration, for philosophes like Diderot were not exempt from social pressures.  But at the same time they were not employees of the state, compelled to adjust their views to the needs of official propaganda. The price was that they enjoyed no secure economic niche.  All too frequently they eked out a meager living from journalistic drudgery: "Grub Street."
Autonomy, which often entailed a precarious life in which the writer and his dependents could be plunged into penury and want, provided a standpoint for intellectuals to question many elements of the established order.  In its turn, the regime recognized this subversive potential, countering it through deploy­ment of censorship. The continuing need to publish books abroad whence they were smuggled into France for clandestine circulation only sharpened the dislike of the intellectuals for the powers that were.  To this eighteenth-century confrontation some scholars have traced the roots of the adversarial stance so often taken by intellectu­als since. In Euro-American and some Far Eastern countries of our own day, the growth of capitalism has brought prosperity for a growing Middle Class, but at the same time it has meant a degree of marginalization for artists and intellectuals. Some of these reacted by creating and promoting works openly scornful of the cherished values of "bourgeois" society. To be sure, Diderot would in all likelihood have deplored the transgressional art forms of the twentieth-century avant-garde. Nonetheless, his career takes its place in a trajectory that has led to the oppositional trends so evident in the culture of our own day.

Concluding Observations.
The values of the Renaissance tradition of art-historical writing endured firmly until the middle decades of the eighteenth century. Tentatively sketched by Lorenzo Ghiberti, the ruling paradigm was realized with enormous panache by Giorgio Vasari. The paradigm's story line is the resurrection of art after the Stygian darkness of the Middle Ages and its progressive enhancement through discovery and efficient deployment of the Rules. Geographically, the theory long remained skewed; the version of the story as set forth by Vasari was Tuscan in emphasis, even Florence-centered. This stress on the glory of local accomplishment spoke to the Renaissance sense of fame as an ornament to one's city or region. Writers in other parts of Italy challenged this bias by advancing a more polycentric scheme in which the schools of Venice, Milan, and Bologna received their due.
The idea of a variety of schools proved helpful as the paradigm was exported across the Alps, so that the contributions of the Flemish and Dutch schools, and those of Germany, France, and Spain, could assume their place. Transalpine art historians gave due recognition to the artists of Italy, and up to a point their generosity was reciprocated there, so that Rubens was generally appreciated in Italy, and sometimes even Rembrandt. Bellori placed a foreign artist, Poussin (who did, however, reside mainly in Rome), at the top of his list of contemporaries. There was also some adjustment of rankings. Throughout Europe, Vasari's partiality towards the "terrible" Michelangelo yielded to a canonization of his more tractable rival Raphael as the Perfect Artist. Significantly, when Michelangelo's star began to rise once more, as it did in the latter part of the eighteenth century, the ascent owed much to the advocacy of such northerners as Reynolds and Goethe.
At first sight the critical writings engendered by the academies and salons spelled a retreat from history, as they were largely concerned with the correction and evaluation of contemporary production. However, they took for granted the exemplary masters upheld by the tradition so imposingly established by Vasari. The recovery of an increasing number of classical antiquities reinforced, rather than eroded, this tradition, for Renaissance art was conventionally regarded as a restoration of the universal principles first set forth by the protagonists of Greek art.
A concept of art historiography of permanent value seemed to have emerged. The confidence felt in this theory was shown by the almost universal acceptance of the concept of taste, a set of aesthetic values that could be acquired, promoted, and passed on to succeeding generations.
Yet some clouds were gathering on the horizon. The fashion that spread for Chinese decoration and furniture throughout eighteenth-century Europe was accompanied by a laudatory opinion of Chinese philosophy, especially as embodied by Confucius, and enthusiasm for the orderly governance of the Chinese Empire.lxix While our own better knowledge of Far Eastern art reveals the European Chinoiserie trend as stylistically superficial, it did serve to issue a warning that aesthetic values derived from Europe might not always be regarded as the exclusive hallmarks of achievement.
Thoughtful Europeans might opine that their attitude towards their own traditions was by no means one of complete and uncritical adulation. The present elevated state of taste had not always prevailed, for the benighted denizens of the Middle Ages had lost sight of their own classical bearings. Indeed, as Edward Gibbon sought to show in his monumental Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which began to appear in 1776, the lamentable history he portrayed served as a warning that, even in his own day, relapse into barbarism remained a possibility.
It was precisely this view, equating the Middle Ages with the Dark Ages, that came under challenge at the very time that Gibbon was writing. As has been noted, Walpole chose to build his own residence of Strawberry Hill in a precocious version of the Gothic revival. In Germany, Goethe praised the Gothic Cathedral of Strasbourg as a masterpiece of northern art for which, in his view, France and Italy could offer no counterparts. Literary scholars began to study the ballads and folklore of the Middle Ages. Finally, English political theorists emphasized the "Gothic balance," the tradition of parliamentary rule and division of powers that they traced to their own Anglo-Saxon and northern heritage.
All this ferment helped to erode the hitherto unchallenged hegemony of the classical model. Eventually, the interest in nonclassical themes and cultures was to overturn the monopoly of established norms, replacing them with aesthetic pluralism. For a time, however, the path to this new, so to speak, multicultural approach was blocked by a lion in the path, for an imposing new avatar of the classical ideal appeared, sweeping all before it. The following chapter examines this intellectual construct, as seen in the work of Johann Joachim Winckelmann.

i It is true that Giorgio Vasari writes several times of rinascita ("rebirth") in his Vite of 1550, e.g. "divise da me ... in tre parti o vogliamo chiamare età, de la rinascita di queste arte sin al secolo che noi viviamo." Here Vasari is simply noting the moment of rebirth in the first of the three phases that he treats; he has no intention of calling the entire period la Rinascita with a capital R, as it were.
ii For these advances in conceptualization see the trenchant article of Barrie Bullen, "The Source and Development of the Idea of the Renaissance in Early Nineteenth-Century French Criticism," Modern Language Review, 76 (1981), 311-22.
iii As by Lucien Febvre, "How Jules Michelet Invented the Renaissance," in A New Kind of History, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973, pp. 258-67. On Michelet see now Arthur Mitzman, Michelet, Historian, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990.
iv For Burckhardt's book and its influence see the classic study of Wallace K. Ferguson, The Renaissance in Historical Thought: Five Centuries of Interpretation, Cambridge: Houghton Mifflin, 1948, pp. 179-252. A new evaluation, showing the continuing vitality of Burckhardt's thought, appears in William Kerrigan and Gordon Braden, The Idea of the Renaissance, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.  A study that takes its start from Burckhardt’s emphasis on the concept of beauty is Francis Ames-Lewis and Mary Rogers, Concepts of Beauty in Renaissance Art, Ashgate: Aldershot, 1998.

v Rudolf Wittkower and Margot Wittkower, Born Under Saturn: The Character and Conduct of Artists: A Documented History from Antiquity to the French Revolution, New York: Random House, 1963.
vi Theodor Mommsen, "Petrarch's Conception of the 'Dark Ages'," in his Medieval and Renaissance Studies, ed. Eugene Rice, Jr., Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1959, pp. 106-129.
vii George Gordon, Medium Aevum and the Middle Ages, Oxford, 1925 (S.P.E. Tract, 19). See also Lucie Varga, Das Schlagwort vom "finsteren Mittelalter," Vienna and Leipzig, 1925; Nathan Edelman, "The Early Uses of Medium Aevum, Moyen Age, Middle Age, Romanic Review, 29 (1938), 3-25; and idem, "Other Early Uses of Moyen Age and Moyen Temps, Romanic Review, 30 (1939), 327-33.
viii Anthony Grafton, Defenders of the Text: The Tradition of Scholarship in an Age of Science, 1450-1800, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991.
ix Paul Oskar Kristeller, Medieval Aspects of Renaissance Learning, ed. and trans. by Edward P. Mahoney, 2nd ed., New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.
x Bram Kempers, Painting, Power and Patronage: The Rise of the Professional Artist in Renaissance Italy, trans. by Beverley Jackson, New York: Alan Lane/Penguin Press, 1992.
xi For this three-group hypothesis, see the pioneering article of Edgar Zilsel, "The Sociological Roots of Science," American Journal of Sociology, 47 (1942), 544-62.
xii Fundamental for the artistic achievement of the Florentine is Richard Krautheimer and Trude Krautheimer-Hess, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1956 (and subsequent editions).
xiii Ghiberti's text survives in a single manuscript, a copy of the original made about 1460. Although consulted by art writers at various times, the text was not published (and then only in part) until 1821-23, The edition of Julius von Schlosser, Lorenzo Ghiberti's Denkwürdigkeiten (I Commentarii), 2 vols., Berlin: Julius Bard, 1912, remains invaluable. Book two was translated and discussed in the unpublished doctoral dissertation of C. K. Fengler, "Lorenzo Ghiberti's 'Second Commentary': The Translation and Interpretation of a Fundamental Renaissance Treatise on Art," University of Wisconsin, 1974.  Julius von Schlosser's magisterial survey, La letteratura artistica, 3d ed., Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1964, traces the major and minor writers of the Renaissance tradition of art theory and art history, supplying much older bibliography. For art theory, as distinct from art history, see Anthony Blunt, Artistic Theory in Italy, 1450-1600, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1940; Moshe Barasch, Theories of Art from Plato to Winckelmann, New York: New York University Press, 1985, pp. 108-309. See also Ferdinando Bologna, La coscienza storica dell'arte d'Italia Turin: UTET, 1982 (Storia dell'arte in Italia, I).
xiv Janice L. Hurd, "The Character and Purpose of Ghiberti's Treatise on Sculpture," in Lorenzo Ghiberti nel suo tempo: Atti del Congegno internazionale di studi (Firenze 18-21 ottobre 1978), Florence: Olschki, 1970, vol. 2, pp. 293-315.
xv This book is now best studied in the learned edition and translation by Klaus Gergdolt, Der dritte Kommentar Lorenzo Ghibertis: Naturwissenschaften und Medizin in der Kunsttheorie der Frührenaissance, Weinheim: VCH Acta Humaniora, 1988.
xvi Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting and Sculpture, edited and translated by Cecil Grayson, London: Phaidon, 1972.  The standard work on this major figure is now Anthony Grafton, Leon Battista Alberti: Master Builder of the Italian Renaissance, New York: Hill and Wang, 2000.
xvii For istoria, see Kristine Patz, "Zum Begriff der 'Historia' in L. B. Alberti's 'De Pictura,'" Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, 49 (1986), 269-87.
xviii On Alberti and history within the humanistic framework, see M. Barry Katz, Leon Battista Alberti and the Humanist Theory of the Arts, Washington, D.C.: 1978, pp. 5-24. Note also the stimulating, but sometimes obscure observations of Mark Jarzombek, On Leon Baptista Alberti: His Literary and Aesthetic Theories, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989.
xix This masterwork may now be consulted in a luminous translation by Joseph Rykwert, Neil Leach, and Robert Tavernor: Leon Battista Alberti, On The Art of Building in Ten Books, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1988.
xx Paul Oskar Kristeller, "The Modern System of the Arts," in his Renaissance Thought II, New York: Harper and Row, 1965, pp. 163-227.
xxi Leon Battista Alberti, The Family in Renaissance Florence, translated by Renee Neu Watkins, Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1969.
xxii Marshall Neal Myers, Observations on the Origins of Renaissance Perspective: Brunelleschi, Masaccio, Petrus Christus, diss., New York: Columbia University, 1978. More generally, see Martin Kemp, The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990, which is, however, contestable as regards some details.
xxiii Samuel Edgerton, Jr., The Renaissance Discovery of Linear Perspective, New York: Harper & Row, 1975.
xxiv Mirella Levi d'Ancona, Botticelli's Primavera: A Botanical Interpretation Including Astrology, Alchemy, and the Medici, Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 1983; see also her The Garden of the Renaissance: Botanical Symbolism in Italian Painting, Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 1977. For other interpretations of the painting, see Umberto Baldini, Ornella Casazza et al., Primavera: The Restoration of Botticelli's Masterpiece, trans. by Mary Fitton, New York: Abrams, 1986.
xxv See Konrad Eisenbichler and Olga Zorzi Pugliese, eds., Ficino and Renaissance Neoplatonism, Ottawa: Dovehouse Editions Canada, 1986; and Pual Oskar Kristeller, Il pensiero filosofico di Marsilio Ficino, rev. ed., Florence: Le Lettere, 1988. Still valuable for its comprehensive picture of this period is André Chastel, Art et humanisme à Florence au temps de Laurent le Magnifique, second ed., Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1961.
xxvi Antonio di Tuccio Manetti, The Life of Brunelleschi, ed. by Howard Saalman, trans. by Catherine Enggass, University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1970.
xxvii On Fazio, see Michael Baxandall, Giotto and the Orators: Humanist Observers of Painting in Italy and the Discovery of Pictorial Composition 1350-1450, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971, pp. 98-111.
xxviii Annamaria Ficara, ed., Il Libro di Antonio Billi, Naples: Fiorentino, n.d.
xxix Wolfgang Kallab, Vasaristudien (Quellenschriften für Kunst und Kunsttechnik des Mittelalters, 15), Vienna and Leipzig, 1908.
xxx The Rare Art Traditions: The History of Art Collecting and Its Linked Phenomena, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982.
xxxi For background on the concept of disegno, see Wolfgang Kemp, "Disegno: Beiträge zur Geschichte des Begriffs zwischen 1547 und 1607," Marburger Jahrbuch, 19 (1974), 219-40; and David Summers, Michelangelo and the Language of Art, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981, pp. 250-61. A related problem is treated in Patricia A. Emison, Creating the "Divine Artist" from Dante to Michelangelo, Leiden: Brill, 2004.
xxxii Thomas S. R. Boase, Giorgio Vasari: The Man and the Book, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971; Patricia C. Rubin, Giorgio Vasari: Art and History, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995; and David Cast, The Delight of Art: Giorgio Vasari and the Tradition of Humanist Discourse, State College: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2009. For Vasari's career as a painter, see Paola Barocchi, Vasari pittore, Milan: Edizioni per il Club del Libro, 1964. The collective volume Il Vasari storiografo e artista (Atti del Congresso internazionale nel IV centenario della morte), Florence: Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento, 1976, contains a number of useful studies of particular themes.
xxxiii See now the invaluable critical edition prepared by Luciano Bellosi and Aldo Rossi published by Einaudi in Turin in 1986. The monograph by Laura Ricco, Vasari scrittore: le prima edizione del libro delle "vite," Rome: Bulzoni, 1979, is somewhat pedestrian.
xxxiv Because of the information made available by the labors of the editor, Gaetano Milanesi, it is still useful to consult the edition in seven volumes, Florence: Sansoni, 1878-81. The two original editions may be compared on a page-by-page basis in Rosanna Bettarini and Paola Barocchi, eds., Le Vite de' più eccellenti pittori scultori e architettori nelle redazioni del 1550 e 1568, Florence: Sansoni and S.P.E.S. (in course of publication). The most important of the lives is handled in a magisterial fashion by Paola Barocchi, ed., La Vita di Michelangelo nella redazione del 1550 e del 1568, 5 vols., Milan: Ricciardi, 1966. The interplay of responses to the two editions is insightfully reviewed by Barocchi, "Storiografia e collezionismo dal Vasari al Lanzi," in Giovanni Previtali, ed., Storia dell'arte italiana, part I, vol. 1, Turin: Einaudi, 1979, pp. 3-81; note also her Studi vasariani, Turin: Einaudi, 1984.
xxxv Since this account addresses the writer's theoretical framework, which varies only slightly, the discussion here will rely on the second edition, unless otherwise noted. The enlarged version is the one from which English translations have been made. The older one by A. B. Hinds, Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects, rev. ed., 4 vols., London: Everyman's Library, 1963, is serviceable, but not of course reliable for the finer points of terminology, for which a close semantic study of the Italian is requisite.
xxxvi George H. Nadel, "Philosophy of History before Historicism," in G. H. Nadel, ed., Studies in the Philosophy of History, New York: Harper Torchbook, 1965, pp. 49-73. A full portrait of the whole era of historiography appears in Ulrich Muhlack, Geschichtswissenschaft im Humanismus und in der Aufklärung: Die Vorgeschichte des Historismus, Munich: C. H. Beck, 1991.
xxxvii "What Men Saw: Vasari's Life of Leonardo da Vinci and the Image of the Renaissance Artist," Art History, 13 (1990), 34-46.
xxxviii Alpers' generally insightful article, "Ekphrasis and Aesthetic Attitudes in Vasari's Lives, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 23 (1960), 190-215, tends to create a false antithesis between the descriptive passages and the theoretical ones. The latter, though occupying a more smaller number of pages, nonetheless constitute the "sinews" of Vasari's great book, and must be carefully analyzed to determine his overall historiographical stance.
xxxix The novelistic element is stressed in Paul Barolsky's suggestive but unsystematic, Why Mona Lisa Smiles and Other Tales by Vasari, University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991.
xl Bram Kempers, Painting, Power and Patronage: The Rise of the Professional Artist in Renaissance Italy, trans. by Beverley Jackson, New York: Allan Lane/The Penguin Press, 1992, p. 12.
xli For the two disparaged medieval styles, see Boase, Giorgio Vasari, pp. 73-118.
xlii There is a very large literature on the problem of the Maniera and Mannerism. For the term, see Marco Treves, "Maniera, the History of a Word," Marsyas, 1 (1941), 69-88. For the theoretical problems, see, e.g., John Shearman, Mannerism, New York: Penguin, 1967; and Hessel Miedema, "On Mannerism and Maniera," Simiolus, 10 (1978-79), 19-46.
xliii "Carlo Cesare Malvasia's Florentine Letters: Insight into Conflicting Trends in Seventeenth-Century Italian Art Historiography," Art Bulletin, 70 (1988), 273-99.
xliv Edward L. Goldberg, After Vasari: History, Art, and Patronage in Late Medici Florence, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988.
xlv Giovan Pietro Bellori, Le Vite de' pittori scultori e architetti moderni, edited by Eva Borea and Giovanni Previtali, Turin: Einaudi, 1976. This edition includes three further lives, not published by Bellori during his lifetime: Guido Reni, Andrea Sacchi, and Carlo Maratta. There is now an English translation by Hellmut Wohl: The Lives of the Modern Painters, Sculptors and Architects. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.  See also Janis Callen Bell and Thomas Willette, Art History in the Age of Bellori: Scholarship and Cultural Politics in Seventeenth-century Rome, New York: Cambridge University Press.
xlvi See Hessel Miedema, Kunst, kunstenaar en kunstwerk bij Karel van Mander: een analyse van zijn levenbeschrijvingen, Alphen aan den Rijn: Canaletto, 1981; and Walter S. Melion, Shaping the Netherlandish Canon: Karel van Mander's Schilder-Boeck, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
xlvii See Melion, Shaping, pp. 95-125; and Hessel Miedema, Karel van Manders Leven der Moderne, oft Dees-Tijtsche Doorluchtighe Italiaensche Schilders en hun Bron: een Vergelijking tussen van Mander en Vasari, Alphen: Canaletto, 1984.
xlviii For the life of Sandrart and his activity as an artist, see Christian Klemm, Joachim von Sandrart: Kunst Werke und Lebenslauf, Berlin: Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft, 1986.
xlix For a valuable edition of the work of the leading Spanish historian see Antonio Palomino, ed. Nina Ayala Mallory, Lives of the Eminent Spanish Painters and Sculptors, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987. For Spain more generally, see the generous excerpts collected in Francisco Calvo Serraller, ed., Teoría de la pintura del siglo de oro, Madrid: Catedra, 1981.
l This work is best studied in the four-volume edition published by the Arno Press of New York in 1969, incorporating commentary by Victorian editors, as well as additional material published by Frederick W. Hilles and Philip B. Daghlian in 1937. More generally, see Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, Horace Walpole: A Biography, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1966; Warren Hunting Smith, ed., Horace Walpole, Writer, Politician and Connoisseur: Essays on the 250th Anniversary of Walpole's Birth, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967: and Timothy Mowl, Horace Walpole: The Great Outsider. London: Murray, 1998. For his spectacular house and its contents, see the exhibition catalog prepared for the Victoria and Albert Museum: Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill, edited 
by Michael Snodin and Cynthia E Roman, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010.

li The Vertue material was published in the Walpole Society Annual, 18 (1929), 20 (1931-32), 22 (1933-34), 24 (1935-36), 26 (1937-38), 29 (1947), and 30 (1955). There is also a collected printing: Vertue Note Books, Oxford: Walpole Society, 7 vols., 1930-55.
lii Istvan Hont, "The Language of Sociability and Commerce: Samuel Pufendorf and the Theoretical Foundations of the 'Four-Stages Theory," in Anthony Pagden, ed., The Languages of Political Theory in Early-Modern Europe, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987, pp. 253-76.
liii Joseph Rykwert, The First Moderns: The Architects of the Eighteenth Century, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1980, pp. 66-75.
liv Christopher Lloyd, ed., Art and Its Images, Oxford: Bodleian Library, 1975.
lv Francis Haskell, The Painful Birth of the Art Book, London: Thames and Hudson, 1987.
lvi For a lively sketch, see Frances Yates, "The Italian Academies," in her Renaissance and Reformation: The Italian Contribution (Collected Essays, 2), London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983, pp. 6-29.
lvii Now available in a critical edition, Antonio Vignale (Arsiccio Intronato), La Cazzaria, ed. by Pasquale Toppelli, Rome: Edizioni dell'Elefante, 1984.
lviii Although it is in need of revision, Nikolaus Pevsner, Academies of Art Ancient and Modern, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1940, still offers a useful synthesis. See now the collective work edited by Anton W. A. Boschloo et al., Academies of Art: Between Renaissance and Romanticism, The Hague: SDU Uitgeverij, 1989 (Leids Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, 5-6, 1986-87). For the beginnings, see Anthony Hughes, "'An Academy for Doing'," Oxford Art Journal, 9:1 (1986), 3-10; 9:2 (1986), 50-62.
lix Christopher F. Black, Italian Confraternities in the Sixteenth Century, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
lx June Hargrove, ed., The French Academy: Classicism and Its Antagonists, Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1990.
lxi For the vital role of Greco-Roman pieces in the formation of European taste, see the indispensable work by Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique: The Lure of Classical Sculpture, 1500-1900, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.
lxii Rensselaer W. Lee, Ut pictura poesis: The Humanistic Theory of Painting, New York: W. W. Norton, 1967, p. 34ff.
lxiii Sydney C. Hutchison, The History of the Royal Academy, 1768-1968, New York: Taplinger, 1968.
lxiv The standard source for the Discourses on Art is the critical edition by Robert R. Wark (rev. ed., New Haven: Yale University Press, 1975). However, some new perspectives appear in the edition by Pat Rogers (New York: Penguin, 1992).
lxv For a richly detailed account of art theory in England during this period, see Johannes Dobai, Die Kunstliteratur des Klassizismus und der Romantik in England, 3 vols., Bern: Benteli, 1974-77. See also Iain Pears, The Discovery of Painting: The Growth of Interest in the Arts in England, 1680-1768. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.
lxvi For shifts in the climate of art in France in this period, see Thomas Crow, Painters and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Paris, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985.
lxvii For a lively account of Diderot's life and works, see P. N. Furbank, Diderot: A Critical Biography, New York: Knopf, 1992.
lxviii The Salons are available in two scholarly editions, one produced by Jean Seznec (second ed., 4 vols., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975-83), the second by a group of scholars connected with the complete edition of Diderot's works (Paris: Hermann, 1984-95). Several texts have been translated into English by John Goodman: Diderot on Art, 2 vols., New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.  See also Else-Marie Bukdahl, Diderot critique d'art, 2 vols., Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger, 1980-82; and the exhibition catalogue Diderot et l'art: de Boucher à David, Paris: Editions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1984.
lxix Hugh Honour, Chinoiserie: The Vision of Cathay, London: John Murray, 1961.

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