Vasari and artists' biographies
While personal reminiscences of art and artists have long been written and read (see Lorenzo Ghiberti Commentarii, for the best early example), it was Giorgio Vasari, the Tuscan painter, sculptor and author of the Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, who wrote the first true history of art. He emphasized art's progression and development, which was a milestone in this field. His was a personal and a historical account, featuring biographies of individual Italian artists, many of whom were his contemporaries and personal acquaintances. The most renowned of these was Michelangelo, and Vasari's account is enlightening, though biased in places.
Vasari's ideas about art were enormously influential, and served as a model for many, including in the north of Europe Karel van Mander's Schilder-boeck and Joachim von Sandrart's Teutsche Akademie Vasari's approach held sway until the 18th century, when criticism was leveled at his biographical account of history.