Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects was a book by Giorgio Vasari, published in 1568. It is considered the most important book on art ever written.
The book was originally conceived as a way for Vasari to lend his support and advice to Cosimo de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, who was commissioning a large number of artistic works as part of his grandiose plans for the city of Florence. The work is a cornerstone of art history, and has been influential in subsequent centuries.
The book is divided into three parts: the first part deals with the lives of the most excellent painters, sculptors, and architects; the second part discusses their works; and the third part offers a general commentary on the state of the arts.
Vasari’s account of the lives of the artists is sometimes criticized for its inaccuracies, but it remains an important source of information about the Italian Renaissance.
The book was first published in 1568, and was immediately popular. It was translated into numerous languages, and had a profound impact on the development of Western art.