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By Catherine M. Soussloff

This can be the 1st e-book to research the artist's biography as a rhetorical shape and literary style instead of as an unassailable resource of truth and information.

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The argument proceeds from the position that the structure of the texts and the use made by history writers of the earliest biographies of artists are intertwined. I take Antonio Manetti's Life of Filippo Brunelleschi to be the first text in the genre of the biography of the artist because it can be characterized by models, topics, tropes, and structure that pertain uniquely to the genre. 1 The Life of Brunelleschi contains virtually all of the elements that can be associated with the better-known biographies by Vasari of a century later.

66 Hampton has argued convincingly that the ideality of exemplarity in history writing so indicative of early Renaissance humanism had changed by the middle of the sixteenth century to one of uneasiness in the universality of ancient exemplars. 67 We can say, then, that because the biography of the artist emerged as a genre just at the time when this erosion of faith in exemplarity was occurring that anxiety about exemplarity was contained in the form itself. One of the distinctive characteristics of the genre from Antonio Manetti's Life of Brunelleschi (ca.

That is the myth that will be explored in the final chapter of this book. It is time to bring back the stench and sweetness of the bodies of the artists, of their histories, of the writing about them, and of their political realities. Let me conclude by examining the expectations that the genre of biography, especially the biography of the artist, elicits from us. These expectations have to do with the representation and location of the real and with the social contract that the genre of the biography embodies for our culture.

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