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[Introduction to Texts] The Lives of Artists (Le vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori)

Introduction to Texts
Poster:Post date:2016-12-14
Taiwan Association of Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies
Introduction to Texts before 1800
主題 Topic History of Art
書刊名 Title
The Lives of Artists (Le vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori) 《藝苑名人傳》
作者 Author Giorgio Vasari
出版社 Publisher Oxford University Press
出版年 Year
1550 in Florence;
2008 reissued by Oxford UP
語言 Language Original: Italian  (Translated into English by Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella)
裝訂 Binding ■平裝 Paperback    □ 精裝 Hardcover
頁數 Pages 616
ISBN (10 / 13) 978-0199537198
Bibliography Reference
(STC, Duff, GW . . .)
來源網址Web Link  
撰稿者 Writer 李祁芳、林柏豪
撰寫日期Date 7 Nov. 2016
A.   簡介 Introduction (within 100 words, Chinese or English)
  若是想要一探文藝復興的藝術興衰,《藝苑名人傳》便是必讀之作。喬奇歐‧瓦薩利(Giorgio Vasari)可說是當時首部將藝術流變完整記錄下來之重要人物。本書所含之藝術風格不限繪畫,也包括了雕刻及建築。時期也橫跨了初期的齊瑪布威(Cimabue)至藝術風格漸漸脫離中古時期影響的喬托·迪·邦多納(Giotto di Bondone),再到文藝復興藝術鼎盛時期的三傑,包含李奧多‧達文西(Leonardo da Vinci)、拉斐爾(Raphael)、米開朗基羅(Michelangelo Buonarroti)…等人。瓦薩利詳實的記載這些藝術家的生平及成就。此書對於藝術史的研究,具有舉足輕重的地位。本書不僅適合專長藝術領域之學者,凡是研究文藝復興人文主義(Humanism)之學生、教師,或是一般民眾,皆可將從本書獲益良多。

B.   文本摘錄 Extracts (4-6 Pages)
The Life of Lorenzo Ghiberti, Sculptor
[c. 1381-1455]
  There is no doubt that in every city, those individuals whose talents achieve some fame among their fellow men become, in most instances, a holy light of inspiration for many others, both those who are born after them as well as those who live in their own age, and they also receive infinite praise and extraordinary rewards during their own lifetime. There is nothing which more arouses men's minds or causes them to consider less burdensome the discipline of their studies than the prospect of the honour and profit that is later to be derived from the exercise of their talents, for these benefits make difficult undertakings seem easier for everyone, and men's talents grow more quickly when they are exalted by worldly praise. Countless numbers of people, who sec and hear others being praised, take great pains in their work to put themselves in a position to earn the rewards they see their compatriots have deserved. Because of this in ancient times, men of talent were either rewarded with riches or honoured with triumphs and statues. But since it rarely happens that talent is not persecuted by envy, it is necessary to do one's utmost to overcome envy through absolute pre-eminence or to become vigorous and powerful in order to endure under such envious attacks.
Lorenzo di Cione Ghiberti (also known as Lorenzo di Bartoluccio) knew how to do so very well, thanks to both his merits and his good fortune, for Donatello the sculptor and Filippo Brunelleschi, the architect and sculptor, both superb artists, declared him their equal and recognized him to be a better master in casting than they were themselves, although common sense might have led them to maintain the contrary.
  This was truly an action that redounded to their glory, but to the confusion of many other presumptuous men who set to work and seek to usurp the rank earned through the talent of others, and who, after straining for a thousand years to produce a single work without any success, trouble and frustrate the work of others by their malice and envy. Lorenzo was the son of Bartoluccio Ghiberti,* and from his earliest years he learned the craft of goldsmithing from his father, who was an excellent master and taught him this trade, with which Lorenzo was so taken that he was very much better at it than his father. But he took far greater pleasure in the arts of sculpture and design, and sometimes he used colours or cast small figurines in bronze and finished them with much grace. He also  delighted in making copies of the dies of antique medals, and in his time drew portraits of many of his friends. And while he was working with Bartoluccio and seeking to acquire proficiency in his profession, the plague broke out in Florence during the year 1400, according to what he himself recounts in a book he wrote to discuss issues concerning the arts, which is in the possession of the Reverend
Messer Cosimo Bartoli, a Florentine gentleman.* In addition to the plague, a number of civil disorders and other troubles arose in the city, and Lorenzo was forced to leave Florence and to accompany another painter into Romagna, where in Rimini* they painted a room for Signer Pandolfo Malatesta as well as many other works which were completed by them with infinite care and to the satisfaction of that lord, who while still a young man took great pleasure in matters of design. In the meanwhile, however, Lorenzo never ceased studying design or working in relief in wax, stucco, and other similar materials, for he realized full well that such readymade small reliefs are a sculptor's means of drawing designs, and that without these methods it is impossible to bring any work to perfection.
Now Lorenzo had not been away from his native city long when the plague ceased, and the Signoria of Florence along with the Merchants' Guild (seeing that the art of sculpture boasted many excellent craftsmen at that time, both foreign and Florentine), decided that they should build the other two doors of San Giovanni, the oldest church and the principal cathedral in the city, a project they had already discussed many times previously. And they agreed among themselves to make it known to all the greatest masters in Italy that they should come to Florence to compete in producing a bronze panel, as a sample of their work, similar to one of those Andrea Pisano had already created for the first door. Bartoluccio wrote about this decision to Lorenzo, who was then working in Pesaro, urging him to return to Florence to prove his worth, since this was an opportunity to make himself known and to show his skill, besides the fact that he would make such a profit from it that neither of them would ever again have to work on pear-shaped earrings.
Bartoluccio's words stirred Lorenzo's spirit to such an extent that no matter how great the kindness Signor Pandolfo, his painter friend, and the entire court showed him, Lorenzo took his leave from that lord and the painter, who allowed him to depart with great annoyance and displeasure, their promises and offers of higher wages working to no avail. To Lorenzo, every hour's delay in going to Florence seemed an eternity; he therefore departed happily and went off to his native city.
  Many foreigners had already shown up and had presented themselves to the consuls of the guild, who chose seven masters from their number—three Florentines and the others Tuscans—and it was agreed that they would receive a salary and that within a year each one of them would have completed, as a sample of their skill, a scene in bronze of the same size as those in the first door. And they determined that the artisans would work on the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac, his son, a scene in which they thought the masters would have to demonstrate all the difficulties of their craft, since this story would include landscapes, nudes, clothed figures, and animals, and since they could execute the major figures in full relief, the secondary figures in half relief, and the minor figures in low relief. The competitors for this work were the Florentines Filippo di Ser Brunellesco, Donatello, and Lorenzo di Bartoluccio, as well as Jacopo della Quercia from Siena, Niccolo d'Arezzo, Jacopo's pupil, Francesco di Valdambrino, and Simone da Colle, called Simone de' Bronzi.* Before the consuls, they all promised to deliver their scenes within the allotted time, and as each artisan set to work, with careful preparation, he employed every bit of his strength and knowledge to surpass the others, keeping what he was doing a closely guarded secret so that others could not produce anything similar. Only Lorenzo (with the guidance of Bartoluccio, who made him take great pains in producing many models before deciding to use any one of them) continuously brought the townspeople to see them, and sometimes even foreigners who were passing through the city (if they had any understanding of the craft), in order to hear their opinions. This advice was the reason why he executed a model which was very •well worked out and which was without any defect whatsoever. And so, when he had made the moulds and cast the work in bronze, it came out extremely well, and then he and his father Bartoluccio polished it up with such love and patience that it could not have been executed or finished any better.
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