(b. 1511, Arezzo, d. 1574, Firenze)
Allegory of the Immaculate Conception1541
Tempera on wood, 58 x 39 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
This is certainly one of the most accomplished paintings of a religious subject produced by Vasari, in spite of its being complicated by allegorical symbols composed with the help of contemporary intellectuals. The group of Mary transported by small angels is certainly the result of Vasari's reflections on the works of Raphael, which he saw in Rome. The allegorical group in the lower part of the painting, on the other hand, is inspired by Michelangelo's dramatic dynamism, while he draws on Rosso for the contorted poses of the numerous figures.
This allegorical academicism, however, is diluted in the misty atmosphere, and in a general pictorial effect of extraordinary quality.
This small painting displayed in the Gallery is the replica of a large work which Vasari executed in 1540 for the chapel of Bindo Altoviti in the Florentine church of SS. Apostoli.