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Italian Renaissance Learning Resources

In collaboration with the National Gallery of Art

Varchi, Benedetto

(b Florence, March 1503; d Florence, Dec 1565). Italian humanist and theorist. After travels in the 1530s during which he studied Aristotle and frequented the circle of Pietro Bembo he settled permanently in Florence in 1543. A chronicler and writer, he became one of the most active members of the Accademia Fiorentina, writing many commentaries on the works of Dante and Petrarch. He was in close contact with artists: he exchanged numerous sonnets with Agnolo Bronzino and Bartolomeo Ammanati and, according to Vasari, advised Niccolò Tribolo on iconographic matters. He also helped Benvenuto Cellini revise the manuscript of his Vita. Varchi’s writings on art comprise a short discourse of unknown date entitled Della beltà e grazia (‘Of beauty and grace’); two lectures delivered in 1547 in S Maria Novella, Florence, and published in 1549 as Due lezzioni; an unpublished treatise on proportion; and the funeral oration for Michelangelo (Florence, 1564).

François Quiviger