Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Artists, 1568 Edition.

We look at objects, write about them, talk about them, consume them. They are the centre of our discipline - the focal point and its reason to be. For OBJECT No. 2 Elizabeth Craig from the Courtauld Book Library discusses Giorgio Vasari’s entry on Properzia de’ Rossi in the 1568 edition of The Lives of the Artists.

Regarded as the first of its kind, Le Vite was reportedly begun after Paolo Giovio convinced Giorgio Vasari to publish the notes he had been collecting on famous artists. When it was first circulated in 1550, The Lives of the Artists contained what Vasari considered the most eminent Italian painters, sculptors and architects from the late 1200s to his own time - the 1550s. Beginning with Cimabue, Vasari wrote biographies of the artists that had contributed to the three progressive stages in Italian art which made it 'even more glorious than that of the ancient world'.

It has been suggested by such figures as Evelyn Welch that the book has a tripartite structure centred around three artists: Giotto, the initiator of a new, innovative type of artwork that wou