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Cruttwell, Maud

    Image Credit: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century

    Full Name: Cruttwell, Maud

    Other Names:

    • Maud Alice Wilson Cruttwell

    Gender: female

    Date Born: 1860

    Date Died: 1939

    Place Died: Paris, Île-de-France, France

    Home Country/ies: United Kingdom

    Subject Area(s): Italian (culture or style), Italian Renaissance-Baroque styles, and Renaissance


    Historian of Italian Renaissance artists; close friend of the Berensons. Cruttwell met the Bernard Berenson and Mary Berenson in England. The Berensons rented two villa apartments in San Domenico, near Fiesole, Italy, in 1894 and Cruttwell agreed to be their housekeeper. She worked closely with Bernard and thanks him in her various art histories for his help. Cruttwell was a fairly open lesbian and among other things, endorsed and perhaps encouraged Mary Berenson‘s increasing physical size (Mrs. Berenson was quite fat in later years). Crutwell left the Berensons when she was asked in 1899 by the editor of George Bell Publishers, George Charles Williamson (1858-1942), to write a volume on Luca Signorelli for their Great Masters series. In 1900 she acted as witness to the Berenson’s marriage. In 1904, Cruttwell published her volume on Andrea Verrocchio. Although Wilhelm Bode had brought this teacher of Leonardo into scholarly vogue, Cruttwell rejected many of the over-attributions to which Bode was inclined. She was commissioned by the Bodley Head to write the series of books on Renaissance artists. Her attributions have generally stood the test of time. In her later years she wrote biographies of women, such as her Madame de Maintenon of 1930. She died in Paris at age 79. Cruttwell was a connoisseur-style historian with a particularly sharp eye.

    Selected Bibliography

    Luca & Andrea della Robbia and their Successors. London: Dent, 1902; Verrocchio. London: Duckworth, 1904; A Guide to the Paintings in the Florentine Galleries; the Uffizi, the Pitti, the Accademia: a Critical Catalogue with Quotations from Vasari. London: J. M. Dent, 1907; Venice and Her Treasures. London: Methuen, 1909; Madame de Maintenon. London: Dent, 1930.


    Berenson, Bernard. The Selected Letters of Bernard Berenson. Edited by A. K McComb. London: Hutchinson, 1963. p. 31 [mentioned]; Samuels, Ernest. Bernard Berenson: the Making of a Connoisseur. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1979, pp. 189, 260, 352, 354; Dunn, Richard M. Geoffrey Scott and the Berenson Circle: Literary and Aesthetic Life in the Early 20th Century. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1998, p. 319, n. 26; [obituaries:] “Miss Maud Cruttwell.” Times (London) August 21, 1939, p 12; addendum, Williamson, G. C. “Miss Maud Cruttwell.” Times (London) August 23, 1939, p. 7.


    Contributors: Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen


    Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen. "Cruttwell, Maud." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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