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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 ...

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Robin Cormack

(b nr St Pölten, 1902; d Vienna, 1990).

Austrian art historian. A highly influential scholar of Byzantine art, he was also concerned with western medieval painting, particularly Romanesque, and with the restoration of Austrian monuments. He studied art history under Josef Strzygowski at the University of Vienna (1921–8). From 1930 to 1936 he worked for the Austrian monuments service as keeper of monuments in Carinthia. In 1939 he emigrated to England where he worked as librarian of the Warburg Institute in London and taught at the Courtauld Institute. In 1946 he returned to Austria as president of the reconstituted monuments service, and from 1963 to 1973 held the chair of art history in the University of Vienna, where he taught medieval and Byzantine art.

Although he often demonstrated an unerring ability to set a medieval monument in the context of its artistic tradition, he appears sometimes to have been inattentive to detail and to historical textual issues. Yet, even in his earliest work (...

Article

Scholarly organization in New York dedicated to the promotion and study of medieval art. In 1956 the International Center of Romanesque Art (ICRA) was founded in New York as the US committee of the Centre international d’Etudes romanes (CIER). Renamed in 1966 as the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA), it has been headquartered at The Cloisters in New York City since 1969. From its early focus on French Romanesque art, ICMA has evolved into an important scholarly association advocating and promoting the study of European art, including the Mediterranean and Slavic regions, from c. ad 300 to c. 1500.

ICMA publishes Gesta, a biannual and the only journal in English dedicated to medieval art; a newsletter (three times a year), a series of censuses of medieval sculpture in American public collections and other monographs on medieval titles. Since 1998 ICMA has maintained an active website offering digital resources (e.g. International Census of Doctoral Dissertations in Medieval Art, ...

Article

Ronald Alley

(b Rodez, Aveyron, Dec 24, 1919).

French painter, printmaker and sculptor. He was greatly impressed as a boy by the Celtic carvings (incised menhirs and graffiti) in the museum at Rodez and by the architecture and sculpture of the Romanesque abbey of Ste-Foy at Conques. In 1938 he went to Paris for the first time, where he visited the Louvre and saw exhibitions of Cézanne and Picasso. With the intention of training to be a drawing teacher, he enrolled in a studio in Paris but was encouraged instead to enter the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts; he was, however, bitterly disappointed by what was being taught there, which seemed to fall far short of what he had just seen, and returned to Rodez. The paintings he was making at this time were of trees in winter, without their leaves, with the black branches forming a tracery against the sky. He was called up in 1941 but demobilized almost at once. He moved to Montpellier to continue his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts there but spent most of the war working clandestinely on a farm in the Montpellier area to avoid forced labour in Germany. He was able to do very little painting during the Occupation, but he became aware of abstract art through his friendship with Sonia Delaunay, whom he met ...