Oppenheimer, Michael 1924-

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OPPENHEIMER, Michael 1924-


Born May 27, 1924, in Los Angeles, CA; son of Michael and Caroline Magdalen (Harvey) Oppenheimer; married Helen Lucas-Tooth (a theologian), July 12, 1947; children: Henrietta Oppenheimer Scott, Matilda Oppenheimer King, Xanthe Oppenheimer Mosley. Ethnicity: "European." Education: Christ Church, Oxford, M.A., 1947, B.Litt., 1953. Religion: Anglican.


Home—L'Aiguillon, Grouville, Jersey, Channel Islands.


Oxford University, Oxford, England, lecturer in history at Lincoln College, 1955-68, lecturer in history at Magdalen College, 1966-68. Military service: South African Army, 1942-45; served in Egypt and Italy; became lieutenant.


The Monuments of Italy: A Regional Survey of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology from Classical to Modern Times, six volumes, I. B. Tauris and Co. (London, England), 2002.


Continuing historical research.


Michael Oppenheimer told CA: "My interest in history began when I was about ten years old; and it was after school, the wartime army, and the university that I became a university lecturer at Oxford. I taught European and English history, English constitutional history, and historical geography. It was during my war service in Italy that I became enthralled with Italian architecture and art, and from about 1950 my wife and I were able to visit Italy regularly. I used to write notes about places we planned to visit, and as these grew it occurred to me that they might be useful to others. This was the genesis of The Monuments of Italy: A Regional Survey of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology from Classical to Modern Times. In 1955 I began working on it seriously. It entailed visits to every archaeological site, every museum, and every building of even marginal interest, selecting what should be in the book, making notes, and taking photographs. Through the years all but very minor objects were visited twice, and important ones several times.

"The book is long, about a million words in six volumes. It is organized in such a way that information can be found easily when it is wanted. Five volumes cover the various regions of Italy. The sixth has a biographical index of architects and artists and a large glossary. This includes virtually all other people mentioned; numerous subjects such as Greek pottery, Roman painting, or architectural styles; all technical terms; and a number of necessary translations of Italian words.

"The book is a work of scholarship, but except for the close observation of the objects described, it is not a work of original research. It is a teaching book, written for anyone of reasonable education in any subject, who wishes to visit Italy but knows little or nothing about the pleasures in store."



Library Journal, September 1, 2002, Anna Youssefi, review of The Monuments of Italy: A RegionalSurvey of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology from Classical to Modern Times, p. 170.

Spectator, May 25, 2002, David Ekserdjian, review of The Monuments of Italy, p. 48.