The Vasari Century
Florentine Draughtsmen of the Cinquecento

17.05.2011 to 21.08.2011


As the fruits of a collaborative project with the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, the Kupferstichkabinett proudly dedicates this one-room show to the great artist, artists' biographer and art theoretician, Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), to mark the 500th anniversary of his birth.

As well as two original copies of his 'Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects' (one first edition from 1550 and a second edition from 1568), the exhibition also includes a small but impressive selection of freehand drawings executed by 16th century Florentine painters and sculptors. Besides works by Vasari himself, also on display are several sheets by his friends, colleagues and successors, as well as drawings from the generation before him, by his teachers and role models. Vasari tackled the creative work of many of these artists in his 'Lives', including that of Fra Bartolomeo, Andrea del Sarto and Franciabigio, Baccio Bandinelli and Benvenuto Cellini, Jacopo Pontormo and Francesco Salviati, Giambattista Naldini and Jacopo Zucchi.

This one-room show thus offers visitors an overview of the development of the Florentine style of drawing during Giorgio Vasari's own lifetime. Portrait and figure studies feature alongside landscape sketches and compositional sketches. All of which reveal, besides the differing individual styles and graphic techniques of the various artists, the formation of that particular, Florentine ideal of 'disegno', which was based on the clarity of line and whose foremost exponent was Vasari himself, in his capacity as historian and theoretician.