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Che si conoscono al suo già detto segno: Vasari’s connoisseurship in the field of engravings

The esteem in which Giorgio Vasari held prints and engravers has been hotly debated in recent criticism. In 1990, Evelina Borea suggested that the author of the Lives was basically interested in prints only with regard to the authors of the inventions and not to their material execution, and this theory has been embraced both by David Landau and Robert Getscher. More recently, Sharon Gregory has attempted to tone down this highly critical stance, arguing that in the life of Marcantonio Raimondi 'and other engravers of prints' inserted ex novo into the edition of 1568, which offers a genuine history of the art from Maso Finiguerra to Maarten van Heemskerck, Vasari focused on the artist who made the engravings and not on the inventor of those prints, acknowledging the status of the various Agostino Veneziano, Jacopo Caraglio and Enea Vico (among many others) as individual artists with a specific and recognizable style.

The aim of this article is to analyze this issue in greater depth, addressing it from the point of view of the history of connoisseurship: was Vasari the connoisseur interested in establishing who was responsible for the invention of the prints or their engraving, or perhaps of both?
Relevant research areas: Western Europe, Renassiance, Baroque, Engraving