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Vasari, Michelangelo and the Allegory of Patience

Vasari, Michelangelo and the Allegory of Patience


This book recounts the exciting rediscovery of Giorgio Vasari’s life-size painting Allegory of Patience, created in 1551–52 for the Bishop of Arezzo, Vasari’s hometown. This image was conceived in Rome in discussion with Michelangelo, then painted by Vasari, as many surviving letters reveal. The work is currently on view to the public at the National Gallery, London.


The monumental figure of a woman, life-sized, with arms crossed, watches time run down. The passing of time is symbolized in the drops that fall from an antique water clock beside her, gradually wearing away the stone on which she rests her foot.


The Bishop of Arezzo regarded patience as the key to his career and achievements, and wished it to be represented in a picture. Vasari consulted his contemporaries and fellow humanists as well as the great sculptor Michelangelo when deciding what form it should take. The image represents more exactly the Latin tag ‘diuturna tolerantia’ (daily tolerance).


The painting quickly became famous in its time and numerous copies were made of it – but not until now has the original emerged. Thanks to letters between those involved, the painting and the process of its creation are richly documented, and in particular provide insights and quotations about picturemaking from Michelangelo.


The book carries full documentation of the work and its known copies, some of which can be traced to leading patrons in Renaissance Italy. It also examines Vasari’s own autograph technique and artistic aims.

  • By Carlo Falciani

    August 2020

    Hardback, 260 x 215 mm

    56 pages, 30 illustrations

    ISBN: 978-1-911300-82-3

  • In the press

    ""The book is beautifully produced with excellent colour illustrations and well chosen details" — The Burlington Magazine

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