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Walton, Guy

Full Name: Walton, Guy E

Gender: male

Date Born: unknown

Date Died: unknown

Home Country/ies: United States

Institution(s): New York University


Overview

Scholar of French sculpture, professor at New York University.  Walton received his Ph. D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University in 1967.  His dissertation, written under Charles Sterling, was on the seventeenth-century sculptor Pierre Puget.





Contributors: Lee Sorensen


Citation

Lee Sorensen. "Walton, Guy." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/waltong/.


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Scholar of French sculpture, professor at New York University.  Walton received his Ph. D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University in 1967.  His dissertation, written under Charles Sterling, was on the seventeenth-century sculptor Pie

Waters, W. G.

Full Name: Waters, William George

Other Names:

  • W. G. Waters

Gender: male

Date Born: September 1844

Date Died: 17 June 1928

Place Born: Wighton, Norfolk, UK

Place Died: London, Greater London, England, UK

Home Country/ies: United Kingdom


Overview

Private scholar, biographer and historian of Italian Renaissance art. Waters was the son of William Waters whose family traced its Norfolk, lineage back to Elizabeth I. He was educated at Ipswich Grammar School and Worcester College, Oxford where he won student awards for his historical scholarship.  Independently wealthy, he settled in London writing, traveling and entertaining.  He married Charlotte Leeder (d. 1868). After her death, in 1880 he married a second time to Emily Paton, an author and collector of cook books. He actively translated historic important scholarly texts beginning with Salernitano Masuccio’s stories from the fifteenth century in 1895. In 1901 he published a small volume in Bell’s art book series, Great masters in painting and sculpture on Piero della Francesca. Afterward he advised another amateur scholar, Evelyn Sandberg, for her book on the same subject and may have recommended the neophyte author to her Italian publisher. He died at age 83.


Selected Bibliography

  • The Novellino of Masuccio London: Lawrence and Bullen, 1895;
  • Piero della Francesca. London: George Bell and Sons, 1901;
  • Five Italian Shrines: an Account of the Monumental Tombs of S. Augustine at Pavia, S. Dominic at Bologna, S. Peter Martyr at Milan, S. Donato at Arezzo, and of Orcagna’s Tabernacolo at Florence.  London: J. Murray, 1906;
  • Travellers Joy. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1906;
  • Italian Sculptors. London, Methuen & Co.;1911;
  • and Waters, Emily (Paton). The Vespasiano Memoirs: Lives of Illustrious Men of the xvth Century.  London. G. Routledge & Sons, 1926

Sources

[obituary:] “Mr. W. G. Waters.” Times (London), June 18, 1928.



Contributors: Lee Sorensen


Citation

Lee Sorensen. "Waters, W. G.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/watersw/.


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Private scholar, biographer and historian of Italian Renaissance art. Waters was the son of William Waters whose family traced its Norfolk, lineage back to Elizabeth I. He was educated at Ipswich Grammar School and Worcester College, Oxf

Wetering, Ernst van de

Full Name: Wetering, Ernst van de

Other Names:

  • Ernst van de Wetering

Gender: male

Date Born: 09 March 1938

Date Died: 11 August 2021

Place Born: Hengelo, Overijssel, Netherlands

Place Died: Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

Home Country/ies: Netherlands

Institution(s): Rembrandt Research Project and Universiteit van Amsterdam


Overview

Rembrandt expert and researcher, Professor of Art History at the University of Amsterdam (1987 – 1999). Van de Wetering’s parents were Gerardus Hermanus van de Wetering, an electrical engineer and amateur artistand, Anna Maria Bahlmann a German. During World War II his father belonged to the NSB (Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging in Nederland), the Dutch Nazi party, led by Anton Mussert (1894-1946). With the liberation of western Europe in 1944, his mother took the family to Hamburg to avoid a hostile Netherlands. His father was imprisoned for three years, all of which had a lasting effect on the younger Van de Wetering. Ernst Van de Wetering received his training as a painter at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. After having worked for a short period as a teacher of drawing, he enrolled, in 1963, as a student at the Institute of Art History of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). At the Institute, he met fellow student Katja Reichenfeld (b. 1942) in 1967, later also an art historian, and the two married. Meanwhile, in 1968, a team of leading Dutch scholars, including Josua Bruyn, Bob Haak, J. G. van Gelder, J. A. Emmens, Simon H. Levie, and J. J. van Thiel had formed the Rembrandt Research Project (RRP). The group was convinced that the accepted number of authentic Rembrandts by previous scholars, most recently Abraham Bredius and Horst Gerson, was in need of revision through critical study, intent on publishing a critical catalogue raisonné of Rembrandt’s work. The same year Van de Wetering returned from a study trip in New York where he became convinced that a Rembrandt in the Metropolitan Museum of Art was a collaborative effort between Rembrandt and Aert de Gelder (1645-1727). When he reported this to Bruyn, now a professor of Art History at the University of Amsterdam, Van de Wetering was invited to join the team as an assistant. He became a full member of the team in 1971. Two years later, in 1973, he graduated in Art History with a thesis–not on Dutch Golden Age art–but on the nineteenth-century German painter Hans von Marées (1837-1887). Rembrandt intrigued him and in 1977 his article “De jonge Rembrandt aan het werk” (The Young Rembrandt at Work) was published in the Dutch periodical Oud Holland.

Trained as a painter himself, Van de Wetering focused on Rembrandt’s working methods. In addition to Van de Wetering’s membership of the RRP, he served, between 1969 and 1987, as a staff member at the Central Research Laboratory for Objects of Art and Science in Amsterdam (now The Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage, ICN). In 1986, he earned his doctor’s degree from the University of Amsterdam under professor Bruyn with a dissertation, Studies in the Workshop Practice of the Early Rembrandt. In 1987, Van de Wetering was appointed Professor of Art history at his Alma Mater, succeeding his former adviser. In the meantime, the first three volumes of the Rembrandt Research Project, A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings, were published in 1982, 1986, and 1989. They provoked much debate and controversy in the art world, as the attributions of many paintings to the master were ascribed to other painters. The continuing controversy over their decisions led to the resignation, in 1993, of the four founding members, Bruyn, Haak, Levie, and van Thiel. The directorship of the RRP was left to Van de Wetering, who advocated a different approach, opting for a thematic and scientific approach instead of the historical and chronological methodology employed by the others. In 1997, Van de Wetering published Rembrandt: the Painter at Work. In this book he thoroughly studied multiple aspects of Rembrandt’s studio practice, his method of working, and his painting technique, taking into account contemporary art-theoretical literature. In addition to his teaching and professional work, Van de Wetering was eager to communicate his insights to a larger audience, with an active program of lectures and public appearances. Van de Wetering retired as professor at the University of Amsterdam in 1999 and was succeeded by Eric Jan Sluijter (b. 1946) in 2002. Following his retirement, he was appointed Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford University (2002-2003). His 2009 publication, Rembrandt in nieuw Licht (simultaneously published in English as Rembrandt, A Life in 180 Paintings), focused on Rembrandt’s life based on seminal paintings. At the same time, he continued his work on the RRP, in collaboration with a team of specialists. This resulted in the publication of three additional volumes of A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings. The fourth volume, The Self-Portraits, appeared in 2005, and the fifth volume, Small-Scale History Paintings, in 2010. The sixth and final volume of the Corpus followed in 2014: Rembrandt’s Paintings Revisited. A Complete Survey.

In 2016, Van de Wetering published Rembrandt: The Painter Thinking. In part II of this meticulous study, he attempted to find Rembrandt’s specific ideas on painting, analyzing the content of two Dutch treatises on painting, written by Karel van Mander, and Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627-1678). Van Mander’s didactic poem Grondt der Edel vry Schilderconst (The foundations of the noble and free art of painting) appeared in 1604, as the first part of his famous Schilder-boeck (Book of Painting) in verse. Van Hoogstraten, who between 1643 and 1647 was a pupil of Rembrandt, rewrote and reorganized Van Mander’s poem in his 1678 didactic treatise, Inleyding tot de Hooge Schoole der Schilderkonst. Anders de zichtbaere werelt (Introduction to the Academy of Painting, or the Visible World). Van de Wetering argued that the basic aspects of painting discussed in both these works played a significant role in Rembrandt’s own thoughts on the art of painting. This allowed Van de Wetering to embark on a path, in his own words, “towards a reconstruction of Rembrandt’s art theory”, of which that book merely provided a sketch. Van de Wetering was critical of what he saw as confusion and misunderstandings in previously published commentaries regarding the meaning and purpose of Van Mander’s and Van Hoogstraten’s treatises. Van de Wetering singled out for his criticism the 2008 study of Thijs Weststeijn, The Visible World, Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Art Theory and the Legitimation of Painting in the Dutch Golden Age. In 2003, Van de Wetering was made a Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion and in 2011, he received the Silver Museum Medal from the Community of Amsterdam. In 2020, he became an honorary member of the Association of Dutch Art Historians. In later years, he lived with partner, Carin van Nes. He died at home after a struggle with cerebral amyloid angiopathy and polyneuropathy.

Van de Wetering’s respect as an authority on authenticity, conservation and preservation of Rembrandt (and other) artworks found detractors as well as admirers. His evaluations of Rembrandt work were considered so conclusive–and had such impact on the value–that he was dubbed “the Rembrandt police” (de Lange). The art historian Gary Schwarz (b. 1940) described van de Wetering’s work as “deleterious to scholarship” because it essentially ended debate on a work’s authenticity (NY Times). The auction world celebrated this as sales of work authenticated by him greatly increased in value.


Selected Bibliography

  • [dissertation:] De jonge Rembrandt aan het werk. University of Amsterdam, 1986; sections published earlier as, “De jonge Rembrandt aan het werk/Studies in the workshop practice of the early Rembrandt.” Oud Holland 91 (1977): 27-65;
  • and, Bruyn, Joshua; Haak, Bob; Levie, Simon; van Thiel, P. J. J.. A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings, 3 volumes, Boston, 1982 (I), 1986 (II), 1989 (III);
  • Rembrandt: The Painter at Work. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1997;
  • Rembrandt in nieuw licht, Amsterdam, 2009, English, Rembrandt, A Life in 180 Paintings, Amsterdam, 2008;
  • A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings. IV: The Self-Portraits. Dordrecht, 2005; V: The Small-Scale History Paintings. Dordrecht, 2010;
  • A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings VI: Rembrandt’s Paintings revisited: A Complete Survey Dordrecht 2014.
  • Rembrandt: The Painter Thinking, Amsterdam University Press, 2016.

Sources

  • [obituaries:]
  • “Ernst van de Wetering (1938-2021) Passed Away.” Codart News 14 August 2021;
  • Frans Grijzenhout and Eric Jan Sluijter, In Memoriam Ernst van de Wetering (1938-2021) Universiteit van Amsterdam, 17 August, 2021;
  • de Lange, Henny. “Ernst van de Wetering zocht naar de waarheid achter Rembrandt.” Trouw Aug 13, 2021.
  • ”Ernst van de Wetering, Authority and Arbiter on Rembrandt, Dies at 83.” New York Times, September 3, 2021.https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/03/arts/ernst-van-de-wetering-dead.html;


Contributors: Monique Daniels


Citation

Monique Daniels. "Wetering, Ernst van de." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/weteringe/.


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Rembrandt expert and researcher, Professor of Art History at the University of Amsterdam (1987 – 1999). Van de Wetering’s parents were Gerardus Hermanus van de Wetering, an electrical engineer and amateur artistand, Anna Maria Bahlmann a German. D

Wilson–Bareau, Juliet

Full Name: Wilson–Bareau, Juliet

Other Names:

  • Juliet Wilson

Gender: female

Date Born: 1935

Subject Area(s): eighteenth century (dates CE), painting (visual works), and Spanish (culture or style)


Overview

British art historian, curator, and independent scholar, Goya and Manet specialist. Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford.1994-1995.  Co-authored Goya monography with Pierre Gassier.






Citation

"Wilson–Bareau, Juliet." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/wilsonbareauj/.


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British art historian, curator, and independent scholar, Goya and Manet specialist. Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford.1994-1995.  Co-authored Goya monography with Pierre Gassier.

Winter, Carl

Full Name: Winter, Carl

Other Names:

  • Mr White

Gender: male

Date Born: 1906

Date Died: 1966

Place Born: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Place Died: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, UK

Home Country/ies: Australia

Subject Area(s): homosexuality, human rights, LGBTQ+, miniature painting, miniatures (paintings), museums (institutions), painting (visual works), paintings (visual works), portraits, sexuality, and watercolors (paintings)

Career(s): directors (administrators) and museum directors

Institution(s): Victoria and Albert Museum


Overview

Museum director; key figure in the decriminalization of homosexuality in England in 1960’s. Winter was the son of Carl Winter and his wife Ethel Hardy (Winter). He attended Xavier College (Victoria, Australia, a prep school) before entering Newman College, University of Melbourne. He came to England in 1928 and attended Exeter College, Oxford.  His family found they could not pay for the subsequent years of education and after a year Winter chose to go to Italy, a country which as a budding art historian, he was fascinated with.  He returned to England and by 1931 was appointed Assistant Keeper in the Department of Painting, a section of the Departments of Engraving, Illustration and Design and of Paintings, at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Though without much formal art training, he learned the specialties of English watercolorist through Martin Hardie and miniaturists under Basil Long. Winter achieved what the Times, London, described as the “discerning habits of eye and the systematic methods of work which were the foundation of his later expert knowledge of portrait miniature painting.” Taking advantage of the Penguin publishing initiatives of the so-called King Penguin book format, he published Elizabethan Miniatures in 1943. A second book, The British School of Miniature Portrait Painters, the result of a 1948 British Academy lecture. At Long’s death in 1936 he assumed most of Long’s duties in that section of the department. That year, too, he married Theodora Barlow. World War II delayed a full appointment to the V&A until 1945 when he was named Deputy Keeper. The following year Winter was named Director and Morley Curator of the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge University, succeeding Louis C. G. Clarke, as well as a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. As the director of the Fitzwilliam he reorganized the structure of the museum after a report presented to the university in 1949. His work as an administrator increased the University’s support for staff and office space. He instituted the publication of catalogs and other projects. This heightened profile led to the significant donations of art to the Fitzwilliam from Guy Knowles, Clarke, and his personal friendships with the publisher Sir Bruce Ingram (1877-1963) and the modernist collector Wilfred Ariel Evill (1890–1963). His own purchases for the Museum included Domenichino’s ‘Baptism of Christ’ and Salvador Rosa’s ‘Umana Fragilita’. Winter and his wife divorced in 1953. The following year he testified about his experiences as a gay man for the Wolfenden report (Departmental Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution) under the pseudonymn “Mr White.” along with two other public figures, Peter Wildeblood (1923-1999) and surgeon Patrick Trevor-Roper (1916-2004). The group’s findings led to the decriminalization of homosexuality in England. Winter saw through completion an extension to the museum building and storage space which opened shortly after his death. He was succeeded at the Fitzwilliam by David Piper.

As a scholar, Winter, in addition to miniatures and watercolors, brought raised British scholarly interest in (then) neglected Italian seventeenth-century paintings, Renaissance bronzes and eighteenth century porcelain. However, his fame today rests in the area of gay rights. Homosexuality had been illegal in England since 1885 and after World War Ii arrests had increased. It was difficult to get gay men to interview for the committee. Winter testified for that report which ultimately recommended that consenting practice between adults was not akin to prostitution or moral perversion.


Selected Bibliography

Elizabethan Miniatures. London, New York: Penguin Books, 1943; The British School of Miniature Portrait Painters. Proceedings of the British Academy; 34. London: G. Cumberledge, 1948;  The Fitzwilliam Museum; an Illustrated Survey. Clairvaux, France: Trianon Press, 1958.


Sources

[obituaries:] Pope-Hennessy, John.  “Mr Carl Winter.” The Burlington Magazine 108, No. 762 (September, 1966): 483-484;  “Carl Winter” National Archives, (UK). https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120203131515/http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/people-pages/obituary-carl-winter/



Contributors: Lee Sorensen


Citation

Lee Sorensen. "Winter, Carl." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/winterc/.


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Museum director; key figure in the decriminalization of homosexuality in England in 1960’s. Winter was the son of Carl Winter and his wife Ethel Hardy (Winter). He attended Xavier College (Victoria, Australia, a prep school) before entering Newman

Wrede, Walther

Full Name: Wrede, Walther

Gender: male

Date Born: 1893

Date Died: 1990

Home Country/ies: Germany

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


Overview

Archaeologist and head of the DAI, Athens, during the Nazi period. Wrede was a high official in the Nazi party who took over the directorship of the DAI (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut) in Athens in 1937. Because his position was primarily focused on politicizing the functions of the Institute, most of the research was left to assistants, including Roland Hampe, Ernst Homann-Wedeking, Ulf Jantzen, and Frank Brommer. Wrede oversaw the Olympia excavations including the stadium, which Hitler hoped to publicize during the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin. Excavations were halted by the Greek government in 1940. Nazi occupation of Greece in 1941 reinstated some of Wrede’s work. In 1944, the Germans evacuated Greece and Wrede left with them. The only remaining Germans at the DAI were Jantzen and Hampe, now officers in the military.


Selected Bibliography

[dissertation, partially published as:] Kriegers Abschied und Heimkahr in der griechischen Kunst I. Jahrbuch der Philosophischen Fakultät in Marburg 1 (1921): 55-60; and Wirsing, Heinrich, and Lehmann-Hartleben, Karl, and Möbius, H. Untersuchungen an griechischen Theatern. Munich: Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1928; Attika. Athens: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, 1934; Attische Mauern. Athens: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, 1933.


Sources

“German Archaeological Institute — Athens.” Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology. Nancy Thomson de Grummond, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996, vol. 1, pp. 495.




Citation

"Wrede, Walther." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/wredew/.


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Archaeologist and head of the DAI, Athens, during the Nazi period. Wrede was a high official in the Nazi party who took over the directorship of the DAI (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut) in Athens in 1937. Because his position was primarily foc

Wulff, Oskar

Full Name: Wulff, Oskar

Other Names:

  • Oskar Konstantin Wulff

Gender: male

Date Born: 1864

Date Died: 1946

Place Born: St. Petersburg, Russia

Place Died: Berlin, Germany

Home Country/ies: Germany

Subject Area(s): art theory


Overview

Theoretician; professor in Berlin (1920s); Josef Rudolf Thomas Strzygowski student. Raised in Estonia in a German family, he studied Archaeology and Philology in Dorplat and Petersburg. In 1892 he studied art history in Leipzig under August Schmarsow, developing the dominant enthusiasms for iconography and the psychology of art. 1895-99 he was in Istanbul (Russian Archaeological Institute), and then in Berlin, first as a curatorial assistant in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum and after 1917 as the successor to Karl Frey as professor at the University of Berlin. At the Berlin museum his colleagues in Wilhelm Vöge.


Selected Bibliography

Grunlinien und kritische Erörterungen zur Prinzipienlehre der bildenden Kunst. Stuttgart: F. Enke, 1917.


Sources

Dilly, 30; KMP, 23 mentioned; Metzler Kunsthistoriker Lexikon: zweihundert Porträts deutschsprachiger Autoren aus vier Jahrhunderten. Stuttgart: Metzler, 1999, pp. 496-499.




Citation

"Wulff, Oskar." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/wulffo/.


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Theoretician; professor in Berlin (1920s); Josef Rudolf Thomas Strzygowski student. Raised in Estonia in a German family, he studied Archaeology and Philology in Dorplat and Petersburg. In 1892 he studied art history in

Würtenberger, Franzsepp

Full Name: Würtenberger, Franzsepp

Gender: male

Date Born: 1909

Home Country/ies: Germany


Overview


Selected Bibliography

Der Manierismus, Die europäische Stil des 16 Jahrhunderts. Vienna: A. Schroll, 1962.


Sources

Bazin, Germain. Histoire de l’histoire d l’art; de Vasari à nos jours. Paris: Albin Michel, 1986 p. 191




Citation

"Würtenberger, Franzsepp." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/wurtenbergerf/.


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Wurzbach, Alfred Wolfgang von

Full Name: Wurzbach, Alfred Wolfgang von

Other Names:

  • Alfred Wolfgang von Wurzbach-Tannenberg

Gender: male

Date Born: 1845

Date Died: 1915

Place Born: Lemberg, Austria

Place Died: Vienna, Vienna state, Austria

Home Country/ies: Austria

Subject Area(s): biography (general genre), Dutch (culture or style), Flemish (culture or style), Netherlandish, and Northern Renaissance

Career(s): art collectors


Overview

Dutch and Flemish authority, collector, author of artist’s dictionary. Wurzbach began his career by studying law, but gave it up somewhere around 1876 to devote his energies to art history and travel. After a period of writing novels and comedies, he moved to art-writing, issuing a small book, Die französischen Maler, (French Painters of the Eighteenth Century) in 1880. From 1880-83 he was art critic for the Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung. During this time Wurzbach wrote two important book on northern rennaisance printmakers, an examination of the Master E.S. and Martin Schongauer. Toward the end of his life, he used his broad knowledge of Dutch and Flemish artists to issue the magisterial Niederländisches Künstler-Lexikon, a dictionary of artists in the low countries. As an art historian, some of his judgments have not proven correct. He was convinced, for example, that Master E.S. made forays into the Netherlands, something which can hardly be correct. Wurzbach inherited a large number of Dutch graphics and paintings, most from his wife’s family. In 1954, his son, the historian Alfred Wolfgang Wurzbach, Ritter Tannenberg (1879-1957), bequeathed them to the Akademie der Bildenden Künste.


Selected Bibliography

Niederländisches Künstler-Lexikon: auf Grund archivalischer Forschungen bearbeitet, von Alfred von Wurzbach; mit mehr als 3000 Monogrammen. Vienna: Leipzig, Halm und Goldmann, 1906-11; Die französischen Maler des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts: eine Sammlung ihrer bedeutendsten Werke. Stuttgart: P. Neff, 1880; Martin Schongauer: Eine kritische Untersuchung seines Lebens und seiner Werke, nebst einem chronologischen Verzeichnisse seiner Kupferstiche. Vienna: Adolf Holzhausen, 1880.


Sources

The Dictionary of Art; Deutsches Biographisches Jahrbuch. Berlin: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt Stuttgart, 1925




Citation

"Wurzbach, Alfred Wolfgang von." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/wurzbacha/.


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Dutch and Flemish authority, collector, author of artist’s dictionary. Wurzbach began his career by studying law, but gave it up somewhere around 1876 to devote his energies to art history and travel. After a period of writing novels and comedies,

Wyatt, Matthew Digby

Full Name: Wyatt, Matthew Digby

Other Names:

  • M. Digby Wyatt

Gender: male

Date Born: 1820

Date Died: 1877

Place Born: Rowde, Wiltshire, England, UK

Place Died: Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK

Home Country/ies: United Kingdom

Subject Area(s): Medieval (European)

Institution(s): Cambridge University


Overview

First Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge University (1869). Wyatt was born to Matthew Wyatt, a barrister in Ireland and London police magistrate. He was born in owde, Wiltshire, England, UK, near Devizes. He studied at the architectural firm of his brother, Thomas Henry Wyatt (1807-1880), beginning in 1836. That year he won a medal from the Institute of British Architects for an essay. He made a continental tour in 1844-46, collecting material for his book, published in 1848, Specimens of Geometrical Mosaics of the Middle Ages. Wyatt’s skill at art reporting was first manifest when he was assigned to write on the 1849 French salon by the Society of Arts. Wyatt was accompanied by the writer and promoter Henry Cole (1808-1882) who was intent on launching an industrial art exhibition for England. Wyatt reviewed the Seven Lamps of Architecture by John Ruskin the same year. Although he applauded Ruskin’s disgust at “shams” of architecture, the differences between Wyatt and Ruskin were already clear. As an architect, Wyatt was not averse to mixing styles, something common during the Victorian era, and Ruskin despised it. Cole was successful in masterminding the 1851 Great London Exhibition, of which Wyatt was made secretary by the executive committee. Wyatt exhibited both architectural drawings and reported on the Fair, for which he won medals and a special award from Prince Albert. In 1852 together with a number of other art-historical writers, including Anna Jameson he published The History of the Painters of All Nations. He and the architect Owen Jones (1809-1874) designed the fine arts decorations for the Crystal Palace’s second erection, representing the various nationalities, at Sydenham in 1854. He married Mary Nicholl in 1853. In 1855 he was elected surveyor for the East India Company, later receiving a knighthood for this work. That same year he was made honorary secretary for the Royal Institute of British Architects (held until 1859). In 1869, Cambridge University established the Slade professorship of fine arts at roughly the same time Oxford had appointed Ruskin first Slade professor of fine arts. Wyatt was selected to be its first recipient of the Cambridge chair and was awarded an honorary M. A. His inaugural lecture, titled “Fine Art: Its History, Theory and Practice,” was published in 1871. He died in 1877 at his castle, Dimlands, South Wales where he had gone to recuperate from the stress of his practice. He is buried at Usk, Monmouthshire.

Wyatt’s career was primarily that of an architect. He was responsible for restorations of buildings and memorial monuments and royal and government commissions with his brother, Thomas Henry Wyatt. As an architectural historian, he differed from Ruskin in that he supported the revival architectural work of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, for whom he took Ruskin to task for criticizing. He also disagreed with Ruskin in the value of the iron-and-glass Crystal Palace, correctly seeing it as the bellwether to modern architecture. But his writing style and theory were generally pedestrian compared to Ruskin.


Selected Bibliography

and Tymms, William R. The Art of Illuminating as Practised in Europe from the Earliest Times: illustrated by Borders, Initial Letters, and Alphabets. London: Day and Son, 1860; and Waring, J. B., and Jones, Owen. Examples of Weaving and Embroidery: Selected from the Royal and Other Collections. London: Day & Son, 1870s; The Fine Arts’ Courts in the Crystal Palace: Second Series, North-east Side. London: Crystal Palace Library, 1854; and Waring, John Burley, and Jameson, Anna, and Blanc, Charles. The History of the Painters of All Nations. London: John Cassell, 1852; and Jones, Owen, and Waring, John B., and Westwood, John Obadiah. The Grammar of Ornament. London: Day and Son, 1856; Specimens of the Geometrical Mosaic of the Middle Ages: with a Brief Historical Notice of the Art Founded on Papers Read before the Royal Institute of British Architects. London: Proprietor [of the Institute], 1848; An Address Delivered in the Crystal Palace on November 3, 1855 by M. Digby Wyatt, at the Opening of an Exhibition of Works of Art Belonging to the Arundel Society, and Consisting of Tracings and Drawings from Paintings by Giotto and other Early Italian Artists with some Illustrations of Greek Sculpture and of Ancient Ivory-Carving. London: Bell and Daldy, 1855; and Waring, John Burley. The Byzantine and Romanesque Court in the Crystal Palace. London: Crystal Palace Library, and Bradbury & Evans, 1854; and Bond, Edward A., and Thompson, E. M., and Coxe, H. O. and Lewis, S. S., and Dickinson, F. H. The Utrecht Psalter: Reports Addressed to the Trustees of the British Museum on the Age of the Manuscript. London: Williams and Norgate, 1874; Metal-work and its Artistic Design. London: Day & Son, 1852; An Attempt to Define the Principles which should Determine Form in the Decorative Arts: Read before The Society of Arts, April 21, 1852. London: G. Barday, 1852; [unsigned] “Principles and Treatment of Ironwork.” Journal of Design 4 (1850-51); Fine Art: Its History, Theory and Practice. Slade Lectures. London: Cambridge University Press, 1870.


Sources

Pevsner, Nikolaus. Matthew Digby Wyatt: the First Cambridge Slade professor of Fine Art: an Inaugural Lecture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1950; P. W. “Wyatt, Sir Matthew Digby.” Dictionary of National Biography 21: 1097; Wyatt, Matthew Digby.” The Medieval Kingdom of Sicily Image Database http://kos.aahvs.duke.edu/creatorimages.php?creatorid=1247D26C-942A-F742-BAA5-37C0BF13B3AF.



Contributors: Lee Sorensen


Citation

Lee Sorensen. "Wyatt, Matthew Digby." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/wyattm/.


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First Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge University (1869). Wyatt was born to Matthew Wyatt, a barrister in Ireland and London police magistrate. He was born in owde, Wiltshire, England, UK, near Devizes. He studied at the architectural firm