|Self-Portrait, Giorgio Vasari|
| (Photo by Markus Bernet)|
The Vasari Corridor as it crosses the Arno
River, the upper-most level of the Ponte
Among his other firsts, in 1561, Vasari founded one of the earliest art schools, the Florence Academy of Drawing. But despite his remarkable contributions as a painter, educator, and architect, Vasari is primarily treasured today for his "Vite" now simply known as Vasari's Lives. It is basic required reading for any would-be art historian. There is some disagreement among scholars as to who first coined the term "Renaissance" to describe the peak period of Italian art which Vasari illuminated in his book, a second edition of which he published in 1568. But there is little doubt it was Vasari who first recognized that this burst of creative artistic energy was a unique phenomenon, and that he was the world's first, true art historian.