Giorgio Vasari is recognized as the first historian of art. An important Florentine painter and architect of the sixteenth century, Vasari is best known as the author of The Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects (1550). Even today, his extensive biographies are a primary source of information about Italian Renaissance artists from the thirteenth century to Vasari's day. The standard Italian edition of Vasari runs to nine volumes and covers a host of artists great and small. The Great Masters presents six of the most detailed and luminous biographies-the lives of Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Titian. With an ear for gossip, Vasari recorded for posterity the particulars of their lives while giving early expression to the world's lasting admiration for their genius. Vasari's texts are thoroughly annotated in this volume and are accompanied by a chronology that clearly relates the artists' lives to the historical events of their time. Moreover, this book is unique among publications of Vasari for its inclusion of works of art discussed in the text. Consequently, The Great Masters lavishly reproduces most of the important works of painting, sculpture, drawing, and architecture by these six artists in 120 full-color plates and 127 black-and-white illustrations. Twenty pages of color gatefolds give appropriate scope to such works as Botticelli's Primavera and Michelangelo's frescoes for the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. For the first time, readers will be able to see in one beautiful volume what Vasari was so eloquently writing about.