Laura Overpelt MA - Open Universiteit



Laura Overpelt MA


Faculteit Cultuur- en rechtswetenschappen (wetenschapsgebied Cultuurwetenschappen)


Expertise, onderzoek en publicaties


Italiaanse schilderkunst en atelierpraktijk van de zestiende eeuw.


Vasari's Enterprise. Daily Practice and the Representation of a Painter's Workshop in Sixteenth-Century Florence.

This research pioneers the study of the daily workshop practice of Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) in the Palazzo Vecchio (Florence). Although best known as author of the ‘Vite’, Vasari was also one of the most important late Renaissance Florentine painters. He was court painter for the De’ Medici and responsible for the greatest decorative projects in Florence. Besides, he was responsible for reforming the training methods by founding the ‘Accademia del Disegno’ (1563), in order to give the artistic profession a sound classical-intellectual basis, enabling the painter to move in courtly and ecclesiastical circles. It is in this perspective that also Vasari’s organisation of his workshop has to be understood. However, it has never been the subject of serious research.

The main research question is how to explain a remarkable discrepancy between the workshop’s factual organisation and the image that arises from Vasari’s own depiction of it, in which, e.g., he denied collaboration or diminished the amount of assistants involved.

The working hypothesis is that this contradiction is related to the growing cultivation and appreciation of the importance of the unique talents and skills of the individual artist. To support the hypothesis, Vasari’s enterprise will be examined on three topics: on the daily practice concerning the Palazzo Vecchio decorations, the representation of the workshop in contemporary textual and visual sources and on the artistic training.

 The analysis of a variety of sources - the decorations themselves, the preliminary drawings, textual sources (archival documents and Vasari’s ‘Vite’ and ‘Ragionamenti’), contemporary treatises on art and education, and contemporary visual sources - will allow for a refined comparison between daily practice and theory from different perspectives and will make it possible to understand their dichotomy as part of an ideological strategy.

Ervaring en opleiding


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Geschiedenis van de Beeldende Kunst 300-1800, MPhil)


Freelance docent/rondleider kunstgeschiedenis.

Ambassadeur van het Nederlands Interuniversitair Kunsthistorisch Instituut (NIKI) te Florence.