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Demargne, Pierre

    Full Name: Demargne, Pierre

    Other Names:

    • Pierre Demargne

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 08 February 1903

    Date Died: 13 December 2000

    Place Born: Aix-en-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France

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

    Home Country/ies: France

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


    French archaeologist and historian of early ancient Greek art. Demargne was the son of archaeologist Pierre Demargne père, a specialist in ancient Crete. He entered the École normale supérieure in 1922, joining the French School of Athens in 1926. His first dig was at Crete on the Minoan site of Mallia (Mália), where the French were excavating one of the great palaces of the age Bronze. There Demargne discovered of one of the most significant pieces of Cretan jewelry, a gold pendant, now in the Museum of Heraklion. On his return from Greece, Demargne was appointed professor of classical archeology at the University of Grenoble in 1933. He moved to a professorship at Strasbourg in 1937. After World War II was declared, Demargne entered the French army in 1939, but was taken prisoner in 1940. He was interned in a prisoner of war camp until the end of the war when he returned to Strasbourg. In 1946 Demargne developed a thesis on the roots of Greek art collecting scholarship on the early artifacts of the Aegean and melding it into a single theory of artistic development. Demargne was elected to the faculty of Sorbonne in 1950. At the Sorbonne he directed research on tenth through the eighth century, B.C., art and archaeology. Demargne turned his attention to Anatolia, Turkey, working at the Institut français d’archéologie d’Istanbul, Institut français d’études anatoliennes. Together with Henri Metzger (1912-2007) and Pierre Coupel (d. 1983), he founded the Archaeological Mission of Xanthos in south-western Turkey. Xanthos had been excavated by the British in 1838 and initial objects conveyed to the British Museum. For the next ten years, Demargne excavated and examined funerary architecture and burial remains of the site. His work became the focus of the eighth international congress of classical archeology (Congrès international d’archéologie classique), which he organized in Paris in 1963. The following year he published a version of his 1947 thesis in the Arts of Mankind series as Birth of Greek Art. The book demonstrates a continuity between the civilizations of the Bronze Age and influences, especially Eastern, in the Aegean. He directed the Archaeological Review between 1966 and 1978, contributing entries to the classical encyclopedia, Paulys Realencyclopädie der classischen Alterumswissenschaft. During the student riots and take over of Paris universities in 1968 he was part of the dialogue, preventing the destruction of the Sorbonne in 1969. His last book was volume eight of the Fouilles de Xanthos with William A. P. Childs (b. 1942) in 1989.

    Selected Bibliography

    La Crète dédalique: études sur les origines d’une renaissance. Paris: E. de Boccard, 1947; edited, Fouilles de Xanthos. 12 vols. Paris : Klincksieck, 1958ff., specifically vol. I, with Coupel, Pierre, and Prunet, Pierre. Les piliers funéraires. 1958, vol. 3. with Coupel, Pierre. Les monument des Néréides: l’architecture, 1969, vol. 5, Tombes-maisons, tombes rupestres et sarcophages, 1974, vol. 8. and Childs, William. Le Monument des Néréides: le décor sculpté, 1989; Naissance de l’art grec. Paris: Gallimard 1964, English, The Birth of Greek Art. New York: Golden Press, 1964, British title, Aegean Art: the Origins of Greek Art. London: Thames and Hudson, 1964; preface, Le rayonnement des civilisations Grecque et Romaine sur les cultures périphériques. 2 vols. Paris: E. De Boccard, 1965; and Metzger, Henri. Guide to Xanthos/ Xanthos kilavuzu. Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, 1966.


    [obituary:] Le Roy, Christian. “Pierre Demargne, Spécialiste de la Crète et de l’Anatolie antiques.” Le Monde December 20 2000.

    Contributors: Lee Sorensen


    Lee Sorensen. "Demargne, Pierre." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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