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Boeckler, Albert

    Full Name: Boeckler, Albert

    Other Names:

    • Albert Böckler

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1892

    Date Died: 1957

    Place Born: Landau der Pfalz, Hesse, Germany

    Place Died: Istanbul, Turkey

    Home Country/ies: Germany

    Subject Area(s): manuscripts (documents) and Medieval (European)


    Scholar of early medieval iluminated manuscript. Böckler studied art history at the university in Berlin under the medievalist art historian Adolph Goldschmidt. He remained a friend of his mentor his entire life. His 1921 dissertation was on a Stuttgart Passionale (manuscript) of Hirsau held in the Württembergische Landesbibliothek which Böckler selected as an example of a document from a South German monastic reform movement. After graduation, Böckler joined the Preussische Staatsbibliothek (Berlin State Library). He worked closely with other curators, including Hans Wegener (1896-1980). The Staatsbibliothek commissioned Böckler to publish their manuscript, Codex Wittekindeus, an Ottonian (Ada-group) produced at Fulda, which led him to his interest in pre-Romaneque art and theology. He published on bronzework, particularly door sculpture and the issues of Byzantine influence in Western medieval art. Böckler rose within the library, succeeding the director, Hermann Degering (1866-1942) in Berlin in everything but title. After World War II, he moved to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library) in Munich in 1946, whose director, Georg Leidinger (1870-1945), had recently died. Böckler’s public reputation rested on two post-war exhibitions on early medieval art, one in Bern in 1949, “Kunst des frühen Mittelalters,” with the distinguished medievalist Otto Homburger, and a second (and larger one) a year later in Munich, “Ars Sacra.” Throughout his career, Böckler focused on publishing medieval manuscripts in facsimile and small publications. Toward the end of his life, his essay in the festschrift for the Morgan Library director Belle da Costa Greene published many discoveries on the Uta manuscript. He died at age 65. Hans Jantzen edited his literary estate, seeing the posthumous publication of Ikonographische Studien zu den Wunderszenen in der ottonischen Malerei der Reichenau in 1961. His research on the Reichenau school and its relation to the East remained uncompleted. Böckler’s publications were mostly shorter works on the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek’s collection, medieval facsimilies and publications such as his texts for the Blauen Bücher series. His Abendländische Miniaturen bis zum Ausgang der romanischen Zeit (1930) remained the standard text for Romanesque and Carolingian illumination for the next twenty-five years (Schilling). His research interest was in establishing the sources of Byzantine, Alexandrian, Roman and North Italian sources of manuscript illumination.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:] Das Passionale der Stuttgarter Landesbibliothek bibl. fol. 56-58: Ein Beitr. z. schwäb. Miniaturmalerei Saec. 12. Berlin, 1921, published, Jahrbuch der Dissertationen der Philosophischen Fakultät Berlin 1921-22. part I., pp. 245-246, revised and issued as Das Stuttgarter Passionale. Augsburg: Filser, 1923; Die Regensburg-Prüfeninger Buchmalerei des XII. und XIII. Jahrhunderts. Munich: A. Reusch, 1924; “Beiträge zur romanischen Kölner Buchmalerei.” in, Mittelalterliche Handschriften: Festgabe zum 60. Geburtstage von Hermann Degering. Leipzig, 1926, pp. 15-28; Abendländische Miniaturen bis zum Ausgang der romanischen Zeit. Berlin und Leipzig: W. de Gruyter, 1930; and Wegener, Hans. Schöne Handschriften aus dem Besitz der preussischen Staatsbibliothek. Berlin: Reichsdruckerei, 1931; Die Bronzetuer von Verona. Marburg: Verlag des Kunstgeschichtlichen Seminars der Universität Marburg, 1931; Die Bronzetür von San Zeno. Marburg: Kunstgeschichtliches Seminar der Universität Marburg, 1931; “Die Buchmalerei.” in, Vol. 1. Handbuch der Bibliothekswissenschaft. Leipzig: O. Harrasowitz, 1931, pp. 150-253; and Homburger, Otto. Kunst des frühen Mittelalters. Bern: Berner Kunstmuseum, 1949; “Das Erhardbild im Utacodex,” in Studies in Art and Literature for Belle da Costa Greene, ed. Dorothy Miner. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 1954, pp. 219-230; Ikonographische Studien zu den Wunderszenen in der ottonischen Malerei der Reichenau. Munich: Verlag der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften/Beck’schen Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1961.


    Der Brockhaus Enzyklopädie 3:479; [obituary:] Schilling, Rosy. “Albert Boeckler.” Burlington Magazine 99, no. 657 (December 1957): 420-421.


    "Boeckler, Albert." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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