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Curtius, Ludwig

    Image Credit: ArchInForm

    Full Name: Curtius, Ludwig

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1874

    Date Died: 1954

    Place Born: Augsburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

    Place Died: Rome, Lazio, Italy

    Home Country/ies: Germany

    Subject Area(s): archaeology, painting (visual works), portraits, and sculpture (visual works)


    Archaeologist, Director of the DAI 1928-1938; built reputation on researching the development of sculpture portraiture and painting of the classical era. Born to a wealthy physician’s family, Curtius studied in Munich under Enrico Brunn and Adolf Furtwängler, under whom he wrote his dissertation in 1902 (published 1903). His topic was the herm format in sculpture. He taught as a private lecturer beginning in 1905 at Erlangen University. With the appearance of his 1907 Habilitationschrift concerning an Apollo head, he assumed a Professorship at Erlangen, where he advanced to Ordinarius in 1913. Together with Johannes Sieveking, he edited the papers of Furtwängler after Furtwängler’s untimely death. After military service during the First World War, Curtius taught at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau, 1918-1920. At Freiburg, Curtius’s colleagues included Ernst Buschor and Hans Jantzen. He was called to Heidelberg in 1920. In 1928, Curtius became the Director of the Deutsche Archäologische Institut (German Archaeological Institute or DAI) in Rome and succeeded in Heidelberg by Arnold von Salis. The following year he published his influential Wandmalerei Pompeijs (Pompeiian Wall Painting) as well as the volume in the prestigious Handbuch der Kunstwissenschaft series on Egypt and west Asia. Curtius held the directorship of the DAI until his disapproval of the Nazi’s (and his bi-sexuality) forced his dismissal (as an early retirement) in 1938. He was succeeded by a provisional appointment of Armin von Gerkan. Curtius remained in Rome throughout World War II and until his death. He witnessed the reopening of the DAI in 1953, but died before he could deliver an address commemorating its 125th founding. His Heidelberg students included Otto J. Brendel and at the DAI, Karl Schefold. He is no relation to the classicist Ernst Curtius.

    Selected Bibliography

    [complete bibliography:] Lullies, Reinhard. Schriften von Ludwig Curtius, Eine Bibliographie, 1979;[collected writings:] Torso. Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt,1958; [dissertation:] Die antike Herme: eine kunstgeschichtliche Studie. Leipzig: B. G. Teubner,1903; [Habilitationsschrift:] über einen Apollokopf in Florenz. Munich: F. Bruckmann, 1908; and Zschietzschmann, Willy. Die antike Kunst. 2 vols. Berlin: Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft Athenaion, 1913ff.; Deutsche und antike Welt: Lebenserinnerungen. Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1950; Interpretationen von sechs griechischen Bildwerken. Bern: A. Francke,1947; and Rüdiger, Horst. Johann Joachim Winckelmann: 1768-1968. Bad Godesberg: Inter Nationes, 1968.


    Archäologenbildnisse: Porträts und Kurzbiographien von Klassichen Archäologen deutscher Sprache. Reinhard Lullies, ed. Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1988: 186-187; Calder, William. “Curtius, Ludwig.” Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology. Nancy Thomson de Grummond, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996, vol. 1, p. 342; Bieber, Margaret. “Necrology.” American Journal of Archaeology 59 (1955): 64-65; Calder, William III. Review, “Bachelors of Art.” in, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 03.01.16.


    "Curtius, Ludwig." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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