Podro, Michael 1931-2008 (Michael Isaac Podro)

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Podro, Michael 1931-2008 (Michael Isaac Podro)


See index for CA sketch: Born March 13, 1931, in London, England; died of cancer, March 28, 2008. Art historian, educator, and author. Podro has been described as a scholar who combined the leisure activity of art appreciation with the technical trade of art attribution and authentication to transform the field of art history into a rigorous academic discipline that embraced art theory, philosophy, psychology, and the humanities. His courses were not for the faint of heart, and they were not intended as electives for "non-majors." Podro began his own training as a would-be artist but eventually abandoned his creative studies for the more intellectual pursuit of art history. He founded the art history department at Camberwell College of Arts (now part of the University of the Arts in London) in 1961. In 1969 he moved to the University of Essex, from which institution he retired as a professor and department head in 1998. Podro was an exacting teacher but also, according to reports, a sympathetic mentor and generous collaborator. When he began his academic career in 1961, art history was less a formal discipline than a casual sideline to an academic education. In his hands it became a respected professional field of endeavor. In 1987 Podro's contribution was recognized when he was appointed a trustee of the venerable Victoria and Albert Museum; he was appointed a fellow of the British Academy in 1992 and decorated a commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2000. Podro was not a prolific author, but his books have earned the respect of the critics. His writings include The Manifold in Perception: Theories of Art from Kant to Hildebrand (1972), The Critical Historians of Art (1982), and Depiction (1998).



Times (London, England), April 3, 2008, p. 63.