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Vasari as Mytho-Historian of Engraving

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Abstract:

Vasari proffered two different foundation myths for engraving in his Lives. In the 1550 edition he assigned its invention to Andrea Mantegna. The revised edition attributes this discovery to the Florentine Maso Finiguerra. Vasari rarely missed an opportunity to assign praise to peninsula artists, and scholars have long recognized the fabulous nature of these accounts. Rather than asking whether or not Vasari erred or dissimulated in offering Italian painters or Florentine natives as the inventors of engraving, my paper explores the fact that Vasari could credibly posit such origins. I argue that the mutability of this mythic foundation within a period of just over a decade points to the crucial and often overlooked fact that the earliest engravings in Italy were shrouded in mystery. Far from accidental, such mysteries were erected by practitioners eager to protect trade secrets and were amplified through Vasari's mytho-historical narrative to privilege Tuscan artistic traditions.
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Name: RSA Annual Meeting
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http://www.rsa.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p481537_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Roberts, Sean. "Vasari as Mytho-Historian of Engraving" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the RSA Annual Meeting, Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel, Montreal, Quebec Canada, <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p481537_index.html>

APA Citation:

Roberts, S. "Vasari as Mytho-Historian of Engraving" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the RSA Annual Meeting, Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel, Montreal, Quebec Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p481537_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Vasari proffered two different foundation myths for engraving in his Lives. In the 1550 edition he assigned its invention to Andrea Mantegna. The revised edition attributes this discovery to the Florentine Maso Finiguerra. Vasari rarely missed an opportunity to assign praise to peninsula artists, and scholars have long recognized the fabulous nature of these accounts. Rather than asking whether or not Vasari erred or dissimulated in offering Italian painters or Florentine natives as the inventors of engraving, my paper explores the fact that Vasari could credibly posit such origins. I argue that the mutability of this mythic foundation within a period of just over a decade points to the crucial and often overlooked fact that the earliest engravings in Italy were shrouded in mystery. Far from accidental, such mysteries were erected by practitioners eager to protect trade secrets and were amplified through Vasari's mytho-historical narrative to privilege Tuscan artistic traditions.


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Giorgio Vasari as Metrodorus of Athens: Pietro Aretino’s Response to Vasari’s Description of the Apparati Designed for Charles V’s Entry into Florence, 30 April 1536


 
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