Scully, Vincent (Joseph, Jr.) 1920-
SCULLY, Vincent (Joseph, Jr.) 1920-
PERSONAL: Born August 21, 1920, in New Haven, CT; son of Vincent J. (in car sales) and Mary Catherine (McCormick) Scully; married Catherine Lynn (an art scholar), December 30, 1980; children: four. Education: Yale University, B.A., 1940, Ph.D., 1949. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Rowing.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—252 Lawrence St., New Haven, CT 06511.
CAREER: Yale University, New Haven, CT, instructor, beginning 1947, professor of art history, 1961-91, Sterling Professor Emeritus of the History of Art, 1991—. Host of television series, New World Visions: American Art and the Metropolitan Museum, 1650-1914, Public Broadcasting Service, 1983; University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, visiting professor, 1992; California Institute of Technology, Mellon visiting professor, 1995. National Trust for Historic Preservation, member of board of trustees, 1992. Military service: Marine Corps, 1941-46; became major.
MEMBER: American Institute of Architects (honorary member).
AWARDS, HONORS: Morse fellow, 1951-52; Paskus fellow in history, Jonathan Edwards College, 1955-68; Howard Foundation fellow, Brown University, 1956; Bollingen fellow, 1957-58 and 1962; Yale University, senior faculty fellow, 1962-63, grant from Concilium for Foreign Area Studies, 1967-68, Wilbur Cross Medal, 1994; senior fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1972-73; American Institute of Architects Medal, 1976; Thomas Jefferson Medal, University of Virginia, 1982; Topaz Award, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and American Institute of Architects, 1986, for excellence in architectural education; honorary fellow, Royal Institute of British Architects, 1988; Literary Lions Award, New York Public Library, 1992; Golden Plate Award, American Academy of Achievement, 1993; Governor's Arts Awards Medal, State of Connecticut, 1993; William Clyde deVane Teaching Award Medal, Phi Beta Kappa, 1993; American Academy in Rome Award, 1994; Lucy G. Moss Preservation Leadership Award, New York Landmarks Conservancy, 1994; twice recognized by Time magazine as one of the "ten best teachers"; Vincent Scully Prize (also named in his honor), National Building Museum, 2000; honorary degrees include D.L.L., University of Hartford, 1969; D.H.L., University of Miami, 1990; and D.H.L., Albertus Magnus College, 1992.
(With Antoinette Forrester Downing) The Architectural Heritage of Newport, Rhode Island, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1952, 2nd revised edition, Clarkson N. Potter (New York, NY), 1967.
The Shingle Style: Architectural Theory and Design from Richardson to the Origins of Wright, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1955, revised edition published as The Shingle Style and the Stick Style: Architectural Theory and Design from Richardson to the Origins of Wright, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1971.
Frank Lloyd Wright, G. Braziller (New York, NY), 1960.
Modern Architecture: The Architecture of Democracy, G. Braziller (New York, NY), 1961, revised edition, 1974.
Louis I. Kahn, G. Braziller (New York, NY), 1962.
The Earth, the Temple, and the Gods: Greek Sacred Architecture, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1962, revised edition, Praeger (New York, NY), 1969, revised paperback edition, Yale University Press, 1980.
The Work of Louis I. Kahn (exhibition catalog), La Jolla Museum of Art (La Jolla, CA), 1965.
American Architecture and Urbanism, Praeger (New York, NY), 1969, revised edition, Holt, 1988.
Pueblo Architecture of the Southwest, photographs by William Current, University of Texas Press (Fort Worth, TX), 1971.
The Shingle Style Today; or, The Historian's Revenge, G. Braziller (New York, NY), 1974.
Pueblo: Mountain, Village, Dance, Viking (New York, NY), 1975, 2nd edition, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1989.
The Travel Sketches of Louis I. Kahn (exhibition catalog), Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (Philadelphia, PA), 1978.
(With David Dunster) Robert Stern, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1981.
Wesleyan: Photographs, photographs by Philip Trager, Wesleyan University Press (Middletown, CT), 1982.
Michael Graves, Buildings and Projects, 1966-1981, edited by Karen Vogel Wheeler, Peter Arnell, and Ted Bickford, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 1982.
The Villas of Palladio, photographs by Philip Trager, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1986.
(Editor) Studies and Executed Buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 1986.
The Architecture of the American Summer: The Flowering of the Shingle Style, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 1987.
New World Visions of Household Gods and Sacred Places: American Art and the Metropolitan Museum, 1650-1914, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1988.
National Capital of Bangladesh, Dacca, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1988.
(Editor) Gordon P. Bugbee, Domino's Mansion: Thomas Monaghan, Gunnar Birkerts, and the Spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright, Planning Research Organization for a Better Environment, 1988.
(With others) The Great Dinosaur Mural at Yale: The Age of Reptiles, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 1990.
Architecture: The Natural and the Manmade, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991.
French Royal Gardens: The Design of Andre Le Notre, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 1992.
Robert A. M. Stern, Buildings and Projects, 1987-1992, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 1992.
(With Robert Venturi) Mother's House: The Evolution of Vanna Venturi's House in Chestnut Hill, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 1992.
(With Jorge Hernandez, Catherine Lynn, and Teofilo Victoria) Between Two Towers: The Drawings of the School of Miami, photographs by Teresa Harb Diehl, Monacelli Press (New York, NY), 1996.
Modern Architecture and Other Essays, edited by Neil Levine, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2002.
Contributor to books, including Collaboration, Artists and Architects: In Celebration of the Centennial of the Architectural League, edited by Barbaralee Diamonstein, Whitney Library of Design (New York, NY), 1981; and Alexander Gorlin: Buildings and Projects, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997; author of introduction or afterword to several books, including Aldo Rossi, Buildings and Projects, edited by Arnell and Bickford, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 1985; Modern Architecture: Romanticism and Reintegration, by Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Da Capo Press, 1993; and The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1994.
SIDELIGHTS: Vincent Scully's knowledge of architectural history has contributed to his authorship or editorship of numerous books on the subject. Known for such works as American Architecture and Urbanism, The Earth, the Temple, and the Gods: Greek Sacred Architecture, New World Visions of Household Gods and Sacred Places: American Art and the Metropolitan Museum, 1650-1914, and Architecture: The Natural and the Manmade, Scully is recognized as one of the most distinguished scholars in his field. Now a professor emeritus, Scully spent more than forty years teaching art history at Yale University, where his enthusiasm made him one of the institution's most popular professors. According to New York Times Book Review contributor Keith Thomas, Scully has been called "the most influential architecture teacher ever."
Scully's work addresses a variety of themes, including the relationship between architecture and the natural landscape, how architecture defines culture, and the architect's responsibility to the community. Linguistic and literary theory have also influenced Scully. The fact that many of Scully's books have been revised and reissued is regarded as a testament to the author's appeal. As Chris Goodrich observed in Publishers Weekly, "Scully is at bottom a social critic, using architectural history not only to tell Americans where they've been but how to shape, in positive ways, where they are going."
One of Scully's early works, The Earth, the Temple, and the Gods, was first published in 1962 and revised for the second time in 1980. In this book Scully focuses on the architecture of ancient Greek temples, organizing the study around the particular deities that were worshiped at each site. Scully's understanding of Greek gods and holy places and his emphasis on the relationship between temples and the landscape drew the attention of critics. "Patiently, observantly, Scully takes us as a guide to sites, [and] evokes them with extraordinary sensibility," wrote Robert Kirsch in the Los Angeles Times. According to Kirsch, Scully's book is a "brilliant and eloquent study." A New York Times Book Review critic also praised The Earth, the Temple, and the Gods, calling it "a landmark of architectural history."
Another of Scully's well-known books is American Architecture and Urbanism, in which he chronicles the history of American architecture, including such diverse subjects as the dwellings of the Pueblo Indians, the colonial homes and churches of New England, the Brooklyn Bridge, the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, and New York City brownstones. "The book's simple premise—that within our architecture is buried the meaning of our culture—bursts to life at the hands of one of today's most gifted critics and art historians," wrote Steven R. Weisman in Commonweal; "Passionate, lyrical, scornful—this is a book about architecture, but it is also profoundly about America." Washington Post Book World contributor Wolf Von Eckardt called American Architecture and Urbanism an "important and impassioned book. . . . For Scully is writing not just about styles and architects; he is talking about our environment—which is our destiny."
Scully is also the author of New World Visions of Household Gods and Sacred Places: American Art and the Metropolitan Museum, 1650-1914, which is based on a public television program that he wrote and narrated. New World Visions traces the history of American "sacred places," such as homes and public monuments, and "household gods," a term coined by art critic John Russell to describe domestic items such as chairs and teapots. Scully also addresses the development of American art and urban design in the book. "In his text, Scully brilliantly relates one discipline to another, pointing out similarities between, say, Winslow Homer's dark, surging seascapes and the looming, shingle style houses of the 1870s and 1880s. His eye for detail is sharp," observed Harriet Shapiro in People.
"I've been working in sacred places all my life," Scully told Goodrich in Publishers Weekly. "Half of New World Visions is about the American love affair with the landscape, the way it embodies good American values, whether it's the bend of the Connecticut river near Northampton or the battlefields of Gettysburg. And it's about how people wanted to open up to the landscape and bring the whole continent inside with that wonderful furniture and pots and other 'household gods.'"
Scully also received critical attention with the book Architecture: The Natural and the Manmade, in which the author surveys Western architecture from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia to modern times. Scully's wide-ranging work considers Greek temples, Gothic cathedrals, Italian urbanism during the Renaissance, French gardens, the University of Virginia, and the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, and Robert Venturi, among others. "This isn't a conventional potted history of Western architecture," wrote Witold Rybczynski in the New York Review of Books, "it is, rather, a highly personal view of the art of building as the great human enterprise. . . . The question of symbolism is an important one, for Scully's thesis is that the chief impulse for the making of architecture is in fact the creation of meaning."
In Architecture Scully also focuses on the relationship between buildings and nature, noting that buildings were once created to conform to the landscape or to imitate natural features, such as the low Pueblo houses that mimicked the shape of southwestern mesas. In contrast, Scully notes, modern cities are built with little regard for nature or a desirable human environment, an attitude exemplified by the International Style of architecture. Scully writes in the book, for example, that Boston City Hall is "an uncouth monster, laying about itself with Neanderthalic roarings and tearing the very center of Boston to pieces." The author praises, however, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, which was designed by one of his former students, Maya Lin. Scully describes the black granite wall as cutting into the earth, "the Classic gesture to the horizon and to the temple and the sun."
Architecture, according to New York Times Book Review contributor Thomas, "throws new light on human attitudes to nature and will make an indelible impression on anyone who cares about architecture. As we turn its pages, we feel ourselves in the company of a marvelously knowledgeable and experienced guide, idiosyncratic and opinionated at times, but invariably sensitive and illuminating." Rybczynski also commended Architecture, calling it a "lucid and stimulating book."
Scully has produced a number of other books during his long career, including The Architecture of the American Summer: The Flowering of the Shingle Style, French Royal Gardens: The Design of Andre Le Notre, as well as the introduction to a 1993 reprint of Henry-Russell Hitchcock's Modern Architecture: Romanticism and Reintegration, which was originally published in 1929. One purpose of his work is to give his readers the ability to analyze architecture for themselves, rather than to adopt his views unthinkingly. "I do want to liberate," Scully explained to Goodrich in Publishers Weekly. "And that's the whole point of the 'liberal arts': learning how to do something is the most important liberating device in the world. When you know you can have an effect on the environment, you may be able to think freely, openly, liberally. . . . And perhaps liberate others."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Scully, Vincent, Architecture: The Natural and the Manmade, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991.
Architecture, June, 2003, Anna Holtzman, review of Modern Architecture and Other Essays, p. 90.
Commonweal, December 19, 1969, Steven R. Weisman, review of American Architecture and Urbanism.
Library Journal, October 1, 1988, p. 82; January, 2003, Peter McKee Kaufman, review of Modern Architecture and Other Essays, p. 104.
Los Angeles Times, April 11, 1980, Robert Kirsch, review of The Earth, the Temple, and the Gods: Greek Sacred Architecture, p. 26.
New York Review of Books, February 13, 1992, Witold Rybczynski, review of Architecture: The Natural and the Manmade, p. 12.
New York Times Book Review, January 13, 1980, review of The Earth, the Temple, and the Gods; December 7, 1986; December 29, 1991, Keith Thomas, review of Architecture, p. 1; December 6, 1992, p. 46.
People, September 12, 1988, Harriet Shapiro, review of New World Visions of Household Gods and Sacred Places: American Art and the Metropolitan Museum, 1650-1914, p. 34.
Publishers Weekly, July 15, 1988, p. 47; September 30, 1988, Chris Goodrich, "Vincent Scully: The Prolific Author and Popular Professor Talks about How America's Art Defines Its Culture" (interview), pp. 47-48.
Washington Post, February 18, 1983.
Washington Post Book World, November 2, 1969, Wolf Von Eckardt, review of American Architecture and Urbanism.*