Still, his writing smells hagiographic. He never met many of the artists and is content to tell legends about them that he heard second-hand. It is an important work for any student of Renaissance art, however, it must always be taken with a grain of salt and in light of contrary evidence.
The title of this book seems to me to describe its contents so clearly that there will be no need to say much in explanation of its purport. I have tried in these stories to give an idea of the liveliness of the Renaissance in Italy and of that exuberant enjoyment of the revived arts, which finds such vivid expression in the pages of Vasari. That he is often incorrect has of course been discovered long since. As he himself said, "If writers of history were to live somewhat longer than is usually granted to the course of human life, they would often have to alter the things written by them; for as it is not possible that one man, however diligent he may be, should in so short a time discover all the truth, so it is as clear as the sun that Time, who is called the father of truth, will daily discover to students new things." As this book, however, has no pretensions to be a critical work, I have simply followed
Vasari, and tell the tales as nearly as I can in his own words. His treatment of Raphael has been attributed to prejudice, and indeed he was such a devoted disciple of Michael Angelo, and so vain of his intimacy with the great man, that his judgment could scarcely be unbiassed. Many great names will be missed here, for Vasari's account is often confined to a bare description of the painter's works with a meagre outline of his life; and it must not be forgotten that he did not carry on his history to the later painters, such as Tintoretto and Veronese.