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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....

Article

(b Charlton, Kent (now in London), June 3, 1853; d Jerusalem, July 29, 1942).

English archaeologist and writer. He was educated at home by unconventional parents, inheriting from his father (a chemical engineer and inventor) his mathematical ability and manual dexterity and from his mother (the daughter of Matthew Flinders, the explorer and circumnavigator of Australia) his interest in antiquity. As a young man he surveyed and recorded many earthworks and prehistoric monuments in southern England; he made the first accurate survey of Stonehenge and from 1880 to 1882 measured the pyramids of Giza. Once in Egypt, he found his life’s work: to extract from the soil not only inscriptions and objets d’art but all the information about an ancient civilization that could be gleaned from the study of its artefacts. He realized the significance of pottery, hitherto discarded by excavators, as dating evidence and emphasized the importance of recording together all associated finds, such as grave groups. Excavating in the Faiyum in 1887–9...