Reynolds, 1790, Discourse Fifteen, follows Vasari 's view that art changed for the better, partly as a result of the study of the works of classical antiquity:
It is impossible not to express some surprise, that the race of Painters who preceded Michelangelo, men of acknowledged great abilities, should never have thought of transferring a little of that grandeur of outline which they could not but see and admire in Ancient Sculpture, into their own works... The Artists of that age, even Raffaelle himself, seemed to be going on very contentedly in the dry [ compare 'secco' in Lanzi; see Perugino's reputation ] manner of Pietro Perugino; and if Michelangelo had never appeared the Art might still have continued in the same style'. ( Reynolds, Discourses, p. 273)
Vasari himself stresses more strongly than Reynolds the part played by the detailed study of nature in the changes associated with Michelangelo.