Giorgio Vasari (30 July 1511 – 27 June 1574) was an Italian painter, architect, writer, and historian.
He is considered the first art historian because he invented the genre of the encyclopedia of artistic biographies with his “Le Vite de’ più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori italiani – Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects“, dedicated to Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, which was first published in 1550.
The biographies were arranged chronologically and included information on the technical methods used in the arts of the time. He presented the path of art history which became the conceptual basis for Renaissance splendour . Antique art was perfect, but then declined into a low period of barbaric or Germanic art (“Gothic” Vasari called it, associating the word with the “barbaric” German style.).
After that, Tuscan artists began to reverse this decline producing a rebirth in Italian art: Vasari was the first to use the term “Renaissance” in print
The biographies are interspersed with amusing gossip and at the end of the ” Lives” Vasari included a sketch of his own biography