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Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....


Annemarie Weyl Carr

(b Berlin, Aug 11, 1909; d London, Nov 10, 1996).

German scholar of Byzantine, East Christian and European illuminated manuscripts. He took his degree in 1933 at the University of Hamburg in the heady community of the Warburg Library (later Institute) under the tutelage of Erwin Panofsky and Fritz Saxl. Immigrating with the Warburg staff and library to London in 1934, he served from 1940 to 1949 as the Institute’s Librarian and from 1944 to 1965 as Lecturer, Reader and then Professor of Byzantine art at the University of London. In 1965 he came to the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, becoming in 1970 the first Ailsa Mellon Bruce Professor. He retired in 1975 to London, where he died in 1996.

Buchthal is best known for his Miniature Painting in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (1957), which laid the foundation for the now well-established art-historical field of Crusader studies. It exemplifies both his originality and the methods that made his scholarship so durable. Fundamental among these were his holistic approach to manuscripts, giving as much attention to ornament, liturgical usage, text traditions, palaeography and apparatus as to miniatures, and his relentlessly keen visual analysis. Aided by a powerful memory, he worked from original monuments, developing exceptional acuity in dissecting the formal components of their images. Mobilized in his dissertation, published in ...


(b London, Feb 26, 1905; d off Stornaway, Feb 24, 1941).

British writer and traveller. His travels in Greece in 1925–7 resulted in two books, The Station and The Byzantine Achievement, in which he presented readers brought up on the culture of Classical antiquity with a novel view of the importance of the civilization of Byzantium and the seminal influence of its art on the later development of European painting. In The Birth of Western Painting he developed this line of thought with a reassessment of El Greco as the ‘last and greatest flower of Byzantine genius’. His best-known book is The Road to Oxiana, a record of travels through Persia and Afghanistan in 1933–4 in search of the origins of Islamic architecture and culture. He contributed a conspectus of Timurid architecture and photographs taken on his journeys to the Survey of Persian Art. Although his views were often coloured by personal enthusiasm and prejudices (for example his hatred of the historical writings of Edward Gibbon) a surprising number of his insights into Byzantine and Islamic culture have been confirmed by later scholarship, and he played a major role in bringing these cultures to the attention of educated readers. He was also a founder-member of the ...


In the 20th century, discussion of the relationship between Byzantine art and the art of the Latin West evolved in tandem with scholarship on Byzantine art itself. Identified as the religious imagery and visual and material culture of the Greek Orthodox Empire based at Constantinople between ad 330 and 1453, studies of Byzantine art often encompassed Post-Byzantine art and that of culturally allied states such as Armenian Cilicia, Macedonia, and portions of Italy. As such fields as Palaiologan family manuscripts and wall paintings, Armenian manuscripts, and Crusader manuscripts and icons emerged, scholars identified new intersections between Western medieval and Byzantine art. Subtle comparisons emerged with the recognition that Byzantine art was not static but changed over time in style and meaning, although most analyses identified Byzantine art as an accessible reservoir of the naturalistic, classicizing styles of antiquity. Scholars considering the 7th-century frescoes at S Maria Antiqua and mosaics at S Maria in Cosmedin, both in Rome, and the 8th-century frescoes at Castelseprio and Carolingian manuscripts such as the Coronation Gospels of Charlemagne (Vienna, Schatzkam. SCHK XIII) used formal comparisons with works such as pre-iconoclastic icons at St Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai, along with the history of Byzantine iconoclasm, to argue for the presence of Greek painters in the West. Similarly, Ottonian and Romanesque painting and luxury arts, such as ivories, provided examples of the appropriation of Byzantine imperial imagery. Yet the study of works such as the great 12th-century ...



French organization founded in Poitiers in 1953. The Centre d’études supérieures de civilisation médiévale (CECSM) is affiliated with the Université de Poitiers, the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), and the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication. The founders, among them historian Edmond-René Labande and art historian René Crozet, began CESCM as a month-long interdisciplinary study of medieval civilization, inviting foreign students to participate. CESCM has since developed into a permanent organization but maintains the international and interdisciplinary focus of its founders.

CESCM continues to hold its formative summer session, known as ‘Les Semaines d’études médiévales’, and invites advanced graduate students of all nationalities. The summer session spans two weeks and includes sessions on a variety of topics, each conducted by a member or affiliate of CESCM. CESCM supports collaborative research groups and regularly holds colloquia attended by the international scholarly community.

Since 1958 CECSM has published ...


Nigel J. Morgan

(b Hamburg, Jan 15, 1863; d Basle, Jan 5, 1944).

German art historian. He came from a Hamburg banking family. His wide-ranging publications covered medieval illuminated manuscripts, ivories, bronze, and stone sculpture, and, to a lesser extent, northern painting of the 15th to 17th centuries. He taught at the universities of Berlin (1892–1903) and Halle (1904–12) and then succeeded Heinrich Wölfflin as professor at Berlin in 1912. He retired in 1932 and finally had to leave Germany for Switzerland in 1939. Goldschmidt’s career spanned the great years of German art history when, particularly in medieval studies, German scholarship and methodology dominated the field. He was among the leading figures of his generation, and through his published work and his teaching, one of the most influential. His analytical, precise approach to the study of style and iconography with an emphasis on medieval art differed from the formalist criticism of Wölfflin. As an exceptional teacher, Goldschmidt established a following of distinguished pupils, notably ...


Rosamond D. McKitterick

(b Lagny-Thorigny, Seine-et-Marne, Dec 2, 1874; d Paris, Feb 3, 1953).

French art historian and medievalist. He was on the staff of the Department of Manuscripts of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris from 1900 and Conservateur en Chef from 1934 until his retirement in 1940. His output was prodigious. The direction of his work was influenced by his training at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and the Ecole des Chartes under Gabriel Monod (1844–1915) and Arthur Giry (1848–99), and resulted in impeccable editions of Carolingian historical narratives and of the charters of the 10th-century kings, facsimile editions of Merovingian and Carolingian royal diplomas and monographs on the later Carolingian rulers.

As well as being a leading Carolingian historian he contributed greatly to manuscript studies generally. As a consequence of his position at the Bibliothèque Nationale he compiled a number of important manuscript catalogues and inventories. The first two volumes of the current catalogue of Latin manuscripts in the ...


Herbert Kessler

(b Jerusalem, Dec 14, 1926; d Jerusalem, June 29, 2008).

Israeli art historian of Jewish art. Educated first at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he moved to London and earned an MA in art history at the Courtauld Institute (1959) and a PhD at the Warburg Institute (1962). Returning to Jerusalem, Narkiss rose steadily through the ranks from 1963 when he began teaching at the Hebrew University and, in 1984, was appointed Nicolas Landau Professor of Art History. He also held fellowships and visiting positions at: Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies in Washington, DC (1969–70); the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (1979–80); the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University (1983), Brown University in Providence, RI (1984–5); the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris (1987–8); the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in Washington, DC (Samuel H. Kress Professor ...


Elizabeth Sears

(b Vienna, Sept 7, 1902; d Vienna, April 17, 1988).

Austrian art historian, active also in England. Pächt’s methodological trajectory was set by training he received in Vienna in the early 1920s, where he studied with Max Dvořák and Julius von Schlosser. In 1933 he completed his Habilitationsschrift at Heidelberg, but Nazi racial laws prevented him from taking up a position as Privatdozent, and he was soon compelled to emigrate from Nazi-occupied Europe. Pächt spent his middle years, 1938 to 1963, in England. Choosing, unusually, to repatriate, he left a position as Reader in Art History at Oxford University and, from 1963 to 1972, occupied the chair at the University of Vienna that had been occupied by his own teachers. Devoted students in Vienna published many of Pächt’s university lectures, thus preserving his mature reflections on topics that had long engaged his interest, including medieval manuscript illumination and early Netherlandish painting, as well as art historical method..

Pächt, a member of the ‘New Vienna School’ of art historians, belonged to a generation intent on bringing critical rigour to disciplinary practice. With his colleague ...


Nigel J. Morgan

(b Paris, Jan 25, 1892; d Paris, April 6, 1966).

French scholar, art historian, and librarian. He specialized in French illuminated manuscripts. He studied at the Ecole des Chartes and worked for most of his life at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, in both the printed books and manuscripts departments. Porcher’s early publications were devoted to medieval and Renaissance texts. As Conservateur en Chef of the manuscripts department (1944–62) he provided a great stimulus to art historical studies of illuminated manuscripts in France through his own publications, exhibitions, his enlightened welcome of scholars, and important acquisitions (above all from the Rothschild family and Comte Guy de Boisrouvray). After becoming Conservateur his publications concentrated on illuminated manuscripts. In the last 20 years of his life his numerous articles and books covered the whole historical range of French illumination from the Merovingian and Carolingian eras to the 15th century. His tenure coincided with the great increase in research in this field, which was largely stimulated by his own work instigating extensive photographic records of the illuminated manuscript collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale and numerous provincial libraries in France. Although the texts of these manuscripts had been catalogued, usually only a minimal description of the pictorial and ornamental decoration had been given. Porcher’s work culminated in two great exhibitions (...


Nigel J. Morgan

(b Dewsbury, Yorks, June 1, 1904; d London, Jan 11, 1972).

English palaeographer, liturgist, and art historian. Educated at Eton and Magdalene College, Cambridge, he worked in the department of manuscripts at the British Museum (1927–49) and was Professor of Palaeography at King’s College, University of London (1950–68), and director of the Institute of Historical Research (1960–67). His early work was almost entirely on liturgical texts and included the three volumes on English calendars published for the Henry Bradshaw Society (1934–46). He continued to publish on liturgical texts throughout his life but from the late 1930s, particularly after the death of M. R. James in 1936, he became the most influential figure in the study of English illuminated manuscripts; he also helped to emphasize the need for the study and publication of medieval liturgical texts. His studies were mainly concerned with Anglo-Saxon and Romanesque material with a few devoted to later medieval illumination and iconography. In these his knowledge of palaeography, historical sources, and the liturgy was always to the fore. His most important books on art history were ...