Vasari and Artistic Value

A couple of weeks ago, I took part in an event called “The irreverent interpretation: Before and After Vasari’s Lives of the Artists”, organised by the fantastic Transmission Gallery committee for the Glasgow Art Festival.  I talked alongside Fiona Jardine and Jan Verwoert. My role was to present Vasari as a kind of conceptual anchor for the notion of the artist, and consider how the cultural value of an object is tied to the identity of the artist – something I’ve been thinking about for a while, particularly in the late of “discoveries” of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci and others that seem to be in the news regularly. I talked about the workshop system, the advent of printing, and the birth of the “super artist” in the early sixteenth century. Lots of good stuff came out of the evening, and it was great to have an excursion away from Renaissance studies with people making and writing about contemporary art.

There’s a sound recording of the event available, so if you were very clever, you could probably somehow juxtapose the sound with these images from my talk (pdf file).  You also get to hear Jan Verwoert shake a banana.

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