(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. ...