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Wittkower, Rudolf

Wittkower, Rudolf (1901–71). German-born architectural historian. Educated in Berlin and Munich, he spent from 1923 to 1933 at the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rome, where he worked with the Director, E. Steinmann, on an annotated bibliography of Michelangelo (1927) and acquired his unrivalled knowledge of Italian art and architecture. As a result of his studies he published (with Heinrich Friedrich Ferdinand Brauer (1899– ))) the important catalogue of Bernini's drawings (1931), which was to prepare the ground for his Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1955—with subsequent editions). It was while working on Bernini that he turned his attention to the study of architecture, publishing a learned paper on Michelangelo's dome of St Peter's (1933, 1964), and followed this with a study of the Laurentian Library, Florence (1934, 1978), in which he discussed Mannerism and architecture. A British subject through his British-born father, Henry, he settled in London, where he was (1934–56) a member of staff at the Warburg Institute, and co-edited (1937–56) the Warburg Journal, publishing many papers, and produced a study of Rainaldi (1937), which discussed centralized Roman Baroque church architecture. Further work on Alberti (1941) and Palladio (1944) gathered material that led to his Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism (1949), which made an immediate and lasting impact on future studies, not least because it disposed of the purely aesthetic theory of Renaissance architecture, a notion that had crippled previous work. It showed (among other things) the importance of modular systems during the Renaissance, and especially in the works of Palladio. It also examined centrally planned Renaissance churches and their meaning in Christian symbolism, as well as the system known as Harmonic Proportion in architecture. For the Pelican History of Art series he wrote Art and Architecture in Italy (1958, with subsequent editions). He added to knowledge of the Baroque period with Baroque Art: The Jesuit Contribution (1972—which he edited with Irma Blumenthal Jaffé (c.1920– ) ) and Studies in Italian Baroque (1975). With Friedrich ‘Fritz’ Saxl (1890–1948) he wrote British Art and the Mediterranean, first published by the Warburg Institute (1948), which showed the debt owed to Italy and France by British art and architecture. His Palladio and English Palladianism (1974) was a tantalizing foretaste of what might have been his greatest book, a study of Burlington, which he never finished. He was Professor at Columbia University, NYC (1956–69), where, in the words of Pevsner (some of whose views and associates rankled with him), his regime was exacting but generous.

Bibliography

Architectural Review, cli/899 (Jan. 1972), 63;
Fraser, Hibbard, & Lewine (eds.) (1967);
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004);
Wittkower (1964, 1974, 1974a, 1975, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1998);
Wittkower & and Brauer (1970);
Wittkower & Jaffé (eds.) (1972);
Wittkower & Saxl (eds.) (1969)

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"Wittkower, Rudolf." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Wittkower, Rudolf." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Retrieved October 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wittkower-rudolf

Wittkower, Rudolf

Rudolf Wittkower (wĬt´kōv-ər, Ger. vĬt´kōv-ər), 1901–71, German-American art historian. After gaining his doctorate in Berlin, Wittkower became a research assistant and later research fellow at the Biblioteca Hertiziana, Rome (1923–33). He was (1934–56) on the staff of the Warburg Institute, London, and became professor at the Univ. of London from 1949 until 1956. Wittkower then headed the department of fine arts and archaeology at Columbia Univ. A man of indomitable energy, he transformed the department into one of the vital centers of scholarship in art history. His highly original works in English include Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism (1949), which was a major influence on modern English architects; The Drawings of the Carracci (1952); Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1955), a basic reevaluation; Art and Architecture in Italy, 1600–1750 (1958); Born under Saturn, the Character and Conduct of Artists (with Margot Wittkower, 1963); Essays in the History of Architecture (1967); Essays in the History of Art (1967); and Baroque Art: The Jesuit Contribution (with Irma Jaffe, 1972).

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"Wittkower, Rudolf." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Wittkower, Rudolf." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wittkower-rudolf