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Brunn, Enrico

    Image Credit: ArchInForm

    Full Name: Brunn, Enrico

    Other Names:

    • Heinrich von Brunn

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1822

    Date Died: 1894

    Place Born: Wörlitz, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

    Place Died: Schliersee, Bavaria, Germany

    Home Country/ies: Germany

    Subject Area(s): ancient, Ancient Greek (culture or style), and Classical


    Early and important art historian of ancient Greek art. Professor at Munich University, 1865-1894 and director of the Glyptothek. Born the son of a minister, Brunn attended the University of Bonn studying archaeology and philology under Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker and Friedrich Ritschl (1806-1876). His dissertation was on the dating of Greek artists before Alexander. In 1843 he joined the Deutsche Archäologische Institut (German Archaeological Institute or “DAI”) in Rome under Emil Braun. He also made the acquaintance of Theodor Mommsen (1817-1903) and performed epigraphical work in the field for Ritschl. His study of the Farnese Hera appeared in 1846 and in 1853, the first volume of his major study on Greek art, Geischichte der griechischen Künstler appeared. The same year a received an appointment in Bonn, but remained unhappy. In 1857 he returned to Rome as the DAI’s second secretary (Braun had been the first), under Wilhelm Henzen (1816-1887). In 1865 he accepted the chair in archaeology at the University in Munich, he was the first scholar to occupy it, which he held until his death. Brunn authored a guide to the Glyptothek in Munich in 1868; by 1888 he was appointed its director. That year, too, he founded the Denkmäler griechischer und römischer Skulptur in historischer Anordung with the scholar-turned-publisher Friedrich Bruckmann, a series of 1500 plates. In 1891 a second, serially published, set of portraits began, the Griechische und römische Porträts. Brunn’s collecting for the Glyptothek made it a center for the study of classical sculpture, amplified by the significant casts collection. In 1893 he began publishing a second multi-volume study of Greek art, Griechische Kunstgeschichte. Although two volumes appeared, it remained unfinished at the time of his death. He never made a trip to Greece. Brunn’s most famous student was Heinrich Wölfflin; other eminent students included Walther Amelung, Paul Arndt, Josef Rudolf Thomas Strzygowski, Adolf Fürtwangler, who succeeded him in Munich, and Julius Langbehn; his lectures at the DAI inspired the work of Edoardo Brizio. His casts collection at the Glyptothek was destroyed in 1944. Brunn was a pioneer in the transition from aesthetic/artistic appreciation to scientific delineation of artistic style. Brunn’s lifelong work was “to trace the translation of mythological characters into the “language” of artistic form and to pave the way for the elaboration of a historical sequence of forms drawn directly from the monuments.” (Marchand). The epochal Geischichte der griechischen Künstler established the chronology of Greek art history. His Denkmäler griechischer und römischer Skulptur in historischer Anordung publicized important momuments. Brunn elevated Hellenistic art to a serious appreciation among scholars. He pioneered the method of determining date and source of sculptural fragments through a rigorous analysis of the representation of anatomic detail. He emphasized Anschauung (visual study) as a mode of understanding critical for education in the secondary school system. This method produced more dramatic results in the hands of his pupil, Fürtwangler, who employed it to develop a history of Greek vase painters. Brunn never forgot his mentor’s (Welcker) Totalitätsideal, the belief that specialists could not adequately make judgments about a discipline. His preferred articles to books; his Kleine Schriften remains an important collection. Brunn’s dissertation yielded two oft-quoted thoughts which are core to Brunn’s methodology: “sine philologiae lumine caecutire archaeologiam” (without the light of philology, archaeology is blind), and “in critica arte malo errare via et ratione, quam sine ratione verum invenire” (in scholarship, I prefer to err rationally than to discover truth intuitively).

    Selected Bibliography

    Geschichte der griechischen Künstler. 2 vols. Braunschweig: C.A.Schwetschke & Sohn, 1853 and 1859; “über die Grundverschiedenheit im Bildungsprincip der griechischen und ägyptischen Kunst,” Rheinisches Museum für Philologie 10 (1856): 158-159; “Archäologische Miscellen,” Sitzungsberichte der Königlichen Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse 2 (1872): 533; Bulle, Heinrich, ed., Heinrich Brunn’s Kleine Schriften. Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1898-1906; Griechische Götterideale in ihren Formen erläutert. Munich: Verlagsanstalt für Kunst und Wissenschaft, 1893; Griechische Kunstgeschichte. Vol. 1: Die Anfänge und die älteste decorative Kunst. Munich: Bruckmann, 1893; Vol. 2: [edited by Adam Flasch.] Die archaische Kunst. Nachgelassene Theile. Munich: Bruckmann, 1897; and Lau, G. Theodor. Die griechischen Vasen: ihr Formen- und Decorationssystem. 2 vols. Leipzig: Seeman, 1877; and Bruckmann, Friedrich. Denkmäler griechischer und römischer Sculptur. Munich: F. Bruckmann, 1888-1900; and Arndt, Paul, et al. Griechische und römische Porträts. Munich: F. Bruckmann a.-G. 1891-1900;
    Beschreibung der Glyptothek König Ludwig’s I. zu München. Munich: T. Ackermann, 1868; Uber die kunstgeschichtliche Stellung der pergamenischen Gigantomachie. Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1884.


    Archäologenbildnisse: Porträts und Kurzbiographien von Klassichen Archäologen deutscher Sprache. Reinhard Lullies, ed. Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1988, pp 47-48; Suzanne L. Marchand. Down from Olympus: Archaeology and Philhellenism in Germany, 1750-1970. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996, pp.: 109-110, 143-144; Adolf Furtwangler. “Heinrich von Brunn” in, Geist und Gestalt: Biographische Beiträge zur Geschichte der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften vornehmlich im zweiten Jahrhundert ihres Bestehens. vol. 1, Munich: Beck, 1959; Calder, William. “Brunn, Heinrich von.” Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology. Nancy Thomson de Grummond, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996, vol. 1, pp. 202-03.


    "Brunn, Enrico." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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