The Invention of Art: Giorgio Vasari and the Secret History of Art

The Secret History of Art is just finishing his next book, co-authored by the great art historian, professor and critic Ingrid D. Rowland.  It’s called THE INVENTION OF ART: Giorgio Vasari and the Secret History of Art, and will be published by Norton in 2015.  If focuses on the Renaissance artist and architect, and the godfather of art history, Giorgio Vasari as a lens through whom to discuss the history of how humans have thought about art, from cave paintings to sharks in formaldehyde.  To keep track of the book’s progress, follow me on Facebook or via my website or this blog.  And for a sneak preview, here is the paragraph I just wrote now for the book:

“Vasari recalled that Cosimo had once spoken to Michelangelo with his cap in his hand, a great show of deference for a duke to an artist. Vasari similarly enjoyed, if not intimate friendship, then the honorable circumvention of rule and ritual when dealing with his superiors. When Montaigne visited the pope, he had to engage in an elaborate and rather silly ritual, including three separate genuflections prior to addressing him: he genuflected when entering the room, then had to make his way around the walls rather than approaching the pope directly, genuflect again halfway around the room, then a third time at the edge of the carpet on which the pope’s throne rest. Montaigne then had to kneel and sort of waddle his way across the carpet toward the pope, and finally lie outstretched on said carpet, in order to kiss the embroidered white cross on the pope’s red slipper. It probably took a good five minutes for someone to simply reach the pope, much less have a word with him. It’s not as though Vasari and the pope would slip out for a cappuccino, but you can be sure that there was a good deal less bowing, genuflecting, cross-kissing, and knee-waddling involved.”

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