Kitzinger, Ernst 1912-2003

views updated

KITZINGER, Ernst 1912-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born December 27, 1912, in Munich, Germany; died January 22, 2003, in Poughkeepsie, NY. Art historian, educator, and author. Kitzinger has been called one of the leading historians of Byzantine art. An expatriate of Nazi Germany, he joined the Center for Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, which operated under the auspices of Harvard University, in 1941; he became the director of Byzantine studies in 1955. Kitzinger taught, first at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., then at the university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1946 to 1979, ultimately as the A. Kingsley Porter University Professor. He also visited Cambridge University as the Slade Professor of Fine Art in the 1970s; in retirement he spent time at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and at Oxford University in England. Kitzinger's research extended from Byzantine art to the art of the early Christian and early medieval periods. What distinguished his work, it has been suggested, were the rigor of his analytical scholarship and the connection that Kitzinger made between historical changes in the art itself and what they revealed about mankind's changing view of itself and the world at large. In Byzantine Art in the Making: Main Styles of Stylistic Development in Mediterranean Art, Third-Seventh Century, for example, he commented that, if the early Christian church had not relinquished its original antipathy toward representational art (the graven image), there would have been little of the rich Byzantine and medieval art that the world has come to know and love. Kitzinger was the author of more than a dozen other books, including Early Medieval Art in the British Museum, The Art of Byzantium and the Medieval West: Selected Studies, and, published in 2001, Studies in Late Antique, Byzantine, and Medieval Western Art.



Tronzo, William, and Irving Lavin, Studies on Art and Archaeology in Honor of Ernst Kitzinger on His Seventy-fifth Birthday, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection (Washington, DC), 1987.


New York Times, February 9, 2003, obituary by Ken Johnson, p. A30.

Times (London, England), February 7, 2003, p. 41.