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(b Dundee, Aug 31, 1898; d London, April 14, 1974).

British art historian, scholar, and teacher. Boase studied history at Magdalen College, Oxford before teaching at Hertford College, Oxford from 1922 to 1937. As an historian his appointment as Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art and Professor of the History of Art in 1937 was controversial, but in this role he helped to establish the history of art as an undergraduate degree course. His time at the Courtauld was disrupted by World War II, and he worked to revive the Institute in its aftermath. Boase brought his historical training to his writing on art. His interests were extremely wide-ranging and he published on subjects as diverse as ‘The Arts in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem’ and ‘Illustrations of Shakespeare’s Plays in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’. Both these articles were among his regular contributions to the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes. In addition to his articles on medieval art, in ...

Article

Betsy L. Chunko

(b Le Mans, Nov 1, 1908; d Brisbane, Australia, July 7, 1995).

French architectural historian, active also in America. Bony was educated at the Sorbonne, receiving his agregation in geography and history in 1933. In 1935, converted to art history by Henri(-Joseph) Focillon, he travelled to England under a research grant from the Sorbonne, after which time he became Assistant Master in French at Eton College (1937–9 and 1945–6). He returned to France in 1939 as an infantry lieutenant in World War II in the French Army, was taken as a prisoner of war and spent the years 1940–43 in an internment camp in Germany. After the war he returned to England, first to Eton, then as Lecturer in the History of Art at the French Institute in London (1946–61), Visiting Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art (1948–58), and Slade Professor of Fine Art at St John’s College, Cambridge (1958–61). From 1961 to 1962...

Article

Stephen Murray

(b New York, Jan 13, 1927; d New York, Nov 26, 1973).

American scholar of Gothic architecture. He majored in classics at Yale University and served in the US Army in Europe (1945–6), where he encountered the great monuments of Gothic architecture. He completed his doctoral degree at Yale, also studying medieval architecture and archaeology at the Ecole des Chartes and the Institut d’Art et Archéologie in Paris, and engaging in excavations at Bourges Cathedral (1950–52). His doctoral dissertation on Bourges was directed by Sumner McKnight Crosby.

Branner taught for a year at Yale (1952) before accepting a teaching position at the University of Kansas (1954). Between 1957 and his death he taught in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, New York, with a brief spell at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. As a teacher, Robert Branner energized the study of medieval art in a vital and lasting way.

Although he is remembered principally as a most prolific scholar of Gothic architecture, Branner’s considerable list of publications includes topics in medieval manuscript production, architectural drawing, painting, luxury arts, and monumental sculpture. Each of Branner’s three great books on Gothic architecture brought a different approach. ...

Article

Mitchell B. Merback

(b Keighly, Yorks, March 6, 1958; d Chicago, IL, April 29, 2002).

British art historian and medievalist, active in America. He studied English and Art History at the University of Cambridge, graduating with honours in 1980 and then worked towards a PhD (1985) in medieval art under George Henderson and Jean Michel Massing, while reading critical theory with Norman Bryson, who was a key early influence. Hired in 1985 by the University of Chicago, he served as the Mary L. Block Professor until his death in April 2002. Considered among the most innovative medievalists of the 20th century, Camille experimented broadly with literary theory, semiotics and deconstruction, psychoanalysis, gender studies, body history, biographical, and auto-biographical narrative modes. A meteoric streak of provocative and iconoclastic publications, some of them avowedly post-modern, signalled a profound rejection of the 19th century’s romantic and nationalistic vision of the Middle Ages and found audiences far beyond both art history and medieval studies.

Two pioneering articles, coinciding with his arrival in the United States in ...

Article

Joseph R. Kopta

(b Neenah, WI, June 28, 1894; d Bedford, MA, March 4, 1984).

American architectural historian. Conant was the leading 20th-century American architectural historian specializing in Romanesque architecture, and was the primary archaeologist of the monastic complex at Cluny. He earned his degrees from Harvard, including a BA in Fine Arts in 1915, an MArch. in 1919, and a PhD with a dissertation on the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, supervised by Arthur Kingsley Porter, in 1926. He trained in archaeological practices in 1926 at the excavations of Chichén Itzá and Pueblo Bonito before directing excavations in earnest at Cluny starting in 1928. He was Professor of Architecture Emeritus at Harvard University, retiring from teaching in 1954.

An active member of the Medieval Academy of America (which funded his excavations after initial funding from the Guggenheim Foundation), Conant published frequent field reports documenting the excavations of Cluny as articles in Speculum. Additionally, Conant published a monograph on the sum of the excavations in ...

Article

Robert S. Nelson

(b Mainz, Aug 28, 1892; d Mainz, Dec 23, 1988).

German art historian and curator. Prolific scholar of medieval art, especially sculpture and the minor arts of the early Middle Ages and Byzantium, Volbach was a museum curator in Berlin, Rome, and Mainz. On the staff of Berlin museums from 1916 to 1933, he left for Italy after he was judged not Aryan because of his mother’s Jewish background. In 1934 he accepted a position at the Vatican museums, where he catalogued and organized the collections of the Museo Sacro. Returning to Germany in 1946, he was associated with the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum in Mainz from 1950 and served as its director from 1953 to 1958.

For his doctoral dissertation, published in 1917, he wrote on the theme of St George in German Renaissance art, but his real interest was in earlier periods. In a catalogue of the Mainz museum from 1916, he wrote about Late Antique and early medieval ivories. Updated in ...