An Analysis Of Vasari's Lives Of The Artists

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The second claim to be tested against the lives of Raphael, Titian, and Michelangelo is that of the stylistic imitation of artists. Cole expresses that artists were encouraged to copy and learn from the work of master’s in a chosen field. To the Renaissance artist, Cole asserts, it was an important part of learning the trade. By copying and imitating great artists, Renaissance artists felt their work could be improved upon (Cole 32). Vasari’s Lives of the Artists provides records of the training of each artist in question which will help verify or disprove this claim. The training of Raphael under his first master provides great veracity to Cole’s claim. Raphael trained under Pietro Perugino (1446/52-1523) as a boy and became incredibly skilled…show more content…
One of the first events covered by Vasari in Michelangelo’s life shows Michelangelo imitating his master and immediately surpassing his skill. While observing his master painting a ceiling, a young Michelangelo began to sketch what he observed. When his master finished and came down to see what he had done Vasari reports that the master exclaimed, “This boy knows more about it than I do” (Vasari 418). What Vasari reports greatly lends support to the idea that during the time copying was seen in a much more favorable light. Vasari not only covers the event in a favorable light for Michelangelo, but also gives evidence that others during the time also shared this viewpoint. Another act of imitation by Michelangelo that Vasari recorded was during his first years as a student. According to Vasari, while observing another apprentice copying his master’s work, Michelangelo noticed errors and corrected it (Vasari 417). This event both reinforced the idea that Michelangelo acquired much of his style through imitation and the fact that this imitation was a widespread practice as seen through the other apprentice. A final note on Michelangelo’s teachings was made on his schooling with Lorenzo de’ Medici (1449-92). During his time with Lorenzo, Michelangelo studied the art of sculpture and worked to refine his skills. One of the sculptors Lorenzo had working for him was Pietro Torregiani (1472-1528) who worked in the garden where Michelangelo could observe him. Vasari writes that Michelangelo upon seeing Torregiani’s work decided to imitate it and created such a close imitation that Lorenzo was greatly impressed and focused on sculpting with him (Vasari 419). Lorenzo was not appalled at his apprentices copying of another work’s, but rather he was impressed and saw it as a sign of greatness to
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