Technique
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Technique

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Giorgio Vasari (1511–1571) is well known for his celebrated work on the lives of the Renaissance artists. But not many people know that Vasari was a painter and architect as well as a biographer, and that he wrote one of the most valuable treatises on the technical methods of the painters, architects, and sculptors of his time. This is the first and only English translation of this important technical material (originally published in 1550 as an introduction to Vasari's Lives of the Artists).
Vasari, as a practical craftsman, brings to his work as unusual understanding of the processes and materials he writes about, and conveys this knowledge to the reader in a style of the pleasantest and most readable kind. In the section on architecture, he describes the methods used in constructing rustic fountains and grottos; how Michelangelo developed new uses for architectural materials; the architectural uses of enriched plaster; the Renaissance view of Ionic, Doric, Gothic, and other types of architecture; and many similar topics.
In the selection on sculpture, the reader will learn about the making of the model, completion of the statue, reliefs, bronze casting, modelled plaster work, sculpture in wood, and other processes. The final section, on painting, discusses aesthetics, perspective, foreshortening, how colors were blended, fresco painting, painting in tempera, oil painting, and much more.
Scholars and historians of art have long used this book as the most detailed and valuable sourcebook of its time. But its full, readable discussions, combined with the sense of actuality and historical presence it contains, make it also perhaps the best possible description of the Renaissance artists in the heyday of their achievement.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 134.62 x 200.66 x 20.32mm | 317.51g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 048620717X
  • 9780486207179
  • 672,653

Back cover copy

Giorgio Vasari (1511-1571) is well known for his celebrated work on the lives of the Renaissance artists. But not many people know that Vasari was a painter and architect as well as a biographer, and that he wrote one of the most valuable treatises on the technical methods of the painters, architects, and sculptors of his time. This is the first and only English translation of this important technical material (originally published in 1550 as an introduction to Vasari's Lives of the Artists).
Vasari, as a practical craftsman, brings to his work as unusual understanding of the processes and materials he writes about, and conveys this knowledge to the reader in a style of the pleasantest and most readable kind. In the section on architecture, he describes the methods used in constructing rustic fountains and grottos; how Michelangelo developed new uses for architectural materials; the architectural uses of enriched plaster; the Renaissance view of Ionic, Doric, Gothic, and other types of architecture; and many similar topics.
In the selection on sculpture, the reader will learn about the making of the model, completion of the statue, reliefs, bronze casting, modelled plaster work, sculpture in wood, and other processes. The final section, on painting, discusses aesthetics, perspective, foreshortening, how colors were blended, fresco painting, painting in tempera, oil painting, and much more.
Scholars and historians of art have long used this book as the most detailed and valuable sourcebook of its time. But its full, readable discussions, combined with the sense of actuality and historical presence it contains, make it also perhaps the best possible description of the Renaissance artists in the heyday of their achievement.
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Table of contents

PREFATORY NOTE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
INTRODUCTORY ESSAY
OF ARCHITECTURE
CHAPTER I.

1. The Author's object in the Discussion of Architecture
2. "Of the working of hard stones, and first of Porphyry"
3. Of Serpentine
4. Of Cipollaccio
5. "Of Breccia ('Mischio,' Conglomerate)"
6. Of Granite
7. Of Paragon (Touchstone)
8. Of Transparent Marbles for filling window openings
9. Of Statuary Marbles
10. Of Cipollino Marble
11. Of White Pisan Marble
12. Of Travertine
13. Of Slates
14. Of Peperino
15. Of the Stone from Istria
16. Of Pietra Serena
17. Of Pietra Forte
18. Conclusion of Chapter
CHAPTER II.
The Description of squared Ashlar-work (lavoro di quadro) and of carved Ashlar-work (lavoro di quadro intagliato)
19. The work of the Mason
CHAPTER III.
"Concerning the five Orders of Architecture, Rustic, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Composite, and also German Work"
20. Rusticated masonry and the Tuscan Order
21. The Doric Order
22. A constructive device to avoid charging architraves
23. The proportions and parts of the Doric Order
24. The Ionic Order
25. The Corinthian Order
26. The Composite Order
27. Of Terminal figures
28. German Work (the Gothic Style)
CHAPTER IV.
"On forming Vaults in Concrete, to be impressed with Enrichment: when the Centerings are to be removed, and how to mix the Plaster"
29. The Construction of enriched Stucco Vaults
30. Stucco made with Marble Dust
CHAPTER V.
"How Rustic Fountains are made with Stalactites and Incrustations from water, and how Cockle Shells and Conglomerations of vitrified stone are built into the Stucco"
31. Grottoes and Fountains of 'Rocaille' work
CHAPTER VI.
On the manner of making Pavements of Tesselated Work
32. Mosaic pavements
33. "Pictorial Mosaics for Walls, etc."
CHAPTER VII.
"How one is to recognize if a Building have good Proportions, and of what Members it should generally be composed"
34. The Principles of Planning and Design
35. An Ideal Palace
NOTES ON 'INTRODUCTION' TO ARCHITECTURE
PORPHYRY AND PROPHYRY QUARRIES
"THE SASSI, DELLA VALLE, AND OTHER COLLECTIONS OF ANTIQUES OF THE EARLY PART OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY"
THE 'PORPHYRY TAZZA OF THE SALA ROTONDA OF THE VATICAN
"FRANCESCO DEL TADDA, AND THE REVIVAL OF SCULPTURE IN PORPHYRY"
"THE CORTILE OF THE BELVEDERE IN THE VATICAN, IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY"
PARAGON (TOUCHSTONE) AND OTHER STONES ASSOCIATED WITH IT BY VASARI
TUSCAN MARBLE QUARRIES
"THE ROUND TEMPLE ON THE PIAZZA S. LUIGI DEI FRANCESI, AND 'MAESTRO GIAN'"
RUSTICATED MASONRY
VASARI'S OPINION ON MEDIAEVAL ARCHITECTURE
EGG-SHELL MOSAIC
IDEAL ARCHITECTURE; AN IDEAL PALACE
OF SCULPTURE
CHAPTER I. (VIII.)
"What Sculpture is; how good works of Sculpture are made, and what qualities they must possess to be esteemed perfect"
36. The Nature of Sculpture
37. Qualities necessary for Work in the Round
38. Works of Sculpture should be treated with a view to their destined position
39. The Proportions of the Human Figure
40. Artists must depend on their Judgement rather than on the Measuring Rule
CHAPTER II. (IX.)
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41. The small Sketch-Model in Wax of Clay
42. The Preparation of Wax
43. Polychrome Wax Effigies
44. The Manipulation of Wax over an Armature
45. The Small Model in Clay
46. The Full-sized Model in Clay
47. Drapery on the Clay Model
48. Transference of the Full-sized Model to the Marble Black
49. Danger of dispensing with the Full-sized Model
50. The Tools and Materials used in Marble Carving
CHAPTER III. (X.)
"Of Low and Half Reliefs, the difficulty of making them an how to bring them to perfection"
51. The Origin of Reliefs
52. Pictorial or Perspective Reliefs
53. Low Reliefs (Bassi Rilievi)
54. Flat Reliefs (Stiacciati Rilievi)
CHAPTER IV. (XI.)
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55. The Full-sized Model for Bronze
56. The Piece-Mould in Plaster
57. The Construction of the Core
58. The Piece-Mould lined with a Skin of Wax
59. This Skin of Wax applied over the Core
60. The fire-resisting Envelope applied over the Wax
61. The External Armature
62. The Vents
63. The Wax melted out
64. The Mould in the Casting-pit
65. The Composition of the Bronze
66. Making up Imperfections
67. A simpler Method of Casting small Figures and Reliefs
68. Chasing the Cast and Colouring the Bronze
69. Modern Tours de Force in small Castings
CHAPTER V. (XII.)
Concerning Steel Dies for making Medals of bronze or other metals and how the latter are formed from these metals
###############################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################
80. On Colouring
CHAPTER V. (XIX.)
81. The Fresco process
CHAPTER VI. (XX.)
"Of Painting in Tempera, or with egg, on Panel or Canvas, and how it is employed on the wall which is dry"
82. Painting in Tempera
CHAPTER VII. (XXI.)
Of Painting in Oil on Panel or Canvas
83. "Oil Painting, its Discovery and Early History"
84. How to Prime the Panel or Canvas
85. "Drawing, by transfer or directly"
CHAPTER VIII. (XXII.)
Of Painting in Oil on a Wall which is dry
86. Mural Painting in Oil
87. Vasari's own Method
CHAPTER IX. (XXIII.)
88. Painting on Canvas
CHAPTER X. (XXIV.)
"Of painting in Oil on Stone, and what stones are good for the purpose"
89. Oil painting on Stone
CHAPTER XI. (XXV.)
"Of Painting on the wall in Monochrome with various earths: how objects in bronze are imitated: and of groups for Triumphal Arches or festal structures, done with powdered earths mixed with size, which process is called Gouache and Tempera"
90. Imitative Paintings for Decorations
CHAPTER XII. (XXVI.)
Of the Sgraffiti for house decoration which withstand water; that which is used in their production; and how Grotesques are worked on the wall
91. Sgraffito-work
92. "Grotesque, or Fanciful Devices, painted or modelled on Walls"
CHAPTER XIII. (XXVII.)
How Grotesques are worked on the Stucco
CHAPTER XIV. (XVIII.)
"Of the manner of applying Gold on a Bolus, or with a Mordant, and other methods"
93. Methods of Gilding
CHAPTER XV. (XXIX.)
Of Glass Mosaic and how it is recognized as good and praise-worthy
94. Glass Mosaics
95. The Preparation of the Mosaic Cubes
96. The Fixing of the Mosaic Cubes
CHAPTER XVI. (XXX.)
Concerning the Compositions and Figures made in Inlaid Work on Pavements in imitation of objects in Monochrome
97. Pavements in Marble Mosaic and Monochrome
98. Pavements in Variegated Tiles
99. Pavements in Breccia Marble
CHAPTER XVII. (XXXI.)
"Of Mosaic in Wood, that is, of Tarsia; and of the Compositions that are made in Tinted Woods, fitted together after the manner of a picture"
100. Inlays in Wood
CHAPTER XVIII. (XXXII.)
On Painting Glass Windows and how they are put together with Leads and supported with Irons so as not to interfere with the view of the figures
101. "Stained Glass Windows, their Origin and History"
102. The Technique of the Stained Glass Window
CHAPTER XIX. (XXXIII.)
"Of Niello, and how by this process we have Copper Prints; and how Silver is engraved to make Enamels over Bas-relief, and in like manner how Gold and Silver Plate is chased"
103. Niello Work
104. The Origin of Engraving
105. Enamels over Reliefs
CHAPTER XX. (XXXIV.)
"Of Tausia, that is, work called Damascening"
106. Metal Inlays
CHAPTER XXI. (XXXV.)
"Of Wood Engraving and the method of executing it and concerning its first Inventor: how Sheets which appear to be drawn by hand and exhibit Lights and Half-tones and Shades, are produced with three Blocks of Wood"
107. Chiaroscuro Wood Engravings
108. Dependence on Design of the Decorative Arts
NOTES ON 'INTRODUCTION' TO PAINTING
FRESCO PAINTING
TEMPERA PAINTING
OIL PAINTING
ENRICHED FAÇADES
STUCCO 'GROTESQUES'
"TARSIA WORK, OR WOOD INLAYS"
THE STAINED GLASS WINDOW
VASARI'S DESCRIPTION OF ENAMEL WORK
INDEX
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