Born in 1511 in Arezzo, he started his training in the arts when still a child. Under the patronage of the Medici family in Florence, Vasari joined the workshop and circle of Andrea del Sarto (1486-1530).1 Vasari was heavily influenced by Michelangelo (1475-1564), whose work would remain a palpable inspiration throughout Vasari’s career and of which this Allegory of Patience is a prime example.2 Vasari conceived the present painting for the Bishop of Arezzo, Bernardetto Minerbetti (d. 1574) with Michelangelo’s aid, as surviving correspondence attests. The work quickly became famous and numerous copies were made, permeating the visual culture of Florence and beyond. The fascinating story and documentation surrounding the creation of this painting as well as Vasari’s autograph technique, are described by Carlo Falciani in Vasari, Michelangelo and the Allegory of Patience (2020).3
Maintaining his long association with the Medici family throughout his career, Vasari also enjoyed the patronage of Pope Pius V (1504-1572) in the last decades of his life. These connections lead to the most significant projects in his artistic career, such as the remodelling of Palazzo Vecchio and the decorating of several chapels in the Vatican. Following his death in 1574 in Florence, Vasari was buried in a chapel he designed in Arezzo.4
1. Encyclopedia Britannica, “Giorgio Vasari,” last modified April 23, 2020, accessed June 19, 2020, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Giorgio-Vasari.
2. Kelli Wood, “Giorgio Vasari,” accessed June 19, 2020, https://www.nga.gov/collection/artist-info.3269.html#biography.
3. Carlo Falciani, Vasari, Michelangelo and the Allegory of Patience, (London: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2020).
4. Wood, “Giorgio Vasari.”