Italianist art historian; Arasse graduated from the École normale supérieure in 1965 in Classics. He entered the Sorbonne initially studying Italian Renaissance art under André Chastel on St. Bernardino of Siena. He switched to École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) under the direction of Louis Marin. After the break up the University of Paris in 1968 under the cultural revolution, commonly known as the French May, Arasse was appointed maître de conférence in 1969 at the University of Paris-1-Panthéon-Sorbonne where he taught modern art history, i.e., currently known as "classical art", i.e., renaissance to 19th century, although Italian Renaissance Art and Iconology was his main lectureship. In 1971 he became a member of the French School in Rome for two years. Between 1982 and 1989, he directed the French Institute in Florence, creating the France Cinema Festival. He returned to the EHESS in 1993 as director of studies. He was appointed curator of the Musée du Luxembourg Botticelli in 2003, but succumbed to a degenerative disease at age 59 and died.
Personal correspondence, Effelle Levaillant, May 28-29, 2018.