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Enlart, Camille

    Image Credit: Wikidata

    Full Name: Enlart, Camille

    Other Names:

    • Desiré Louis Camille Enlart

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1862

    Date Died: 1927

    Place Born: Boulogne-sur-Mer, Pas-de-Calais departement, France

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

    Home Country/ies: France

    Subject Area(s): architecture (object genre), French (culture or style), Gothic (Medieval), Italian (culture or style), and sculpture (visual works)


    Historian of French and Italian Gothic architecture; director of the Musée de Sculpture comparée 1903-1927. Enlart came from an established Picard family. He attended school in Paris, first at the école des Beaux-Arts where he studied drawing and in 1885 the école des Chartes, studying under Robert Charles de Lasteyrie du Saillant. His dissertation was on the Romanesque churches of Picardy. Enlart traveled to Italy in 1889 for two years studying the French influence in Italian Gothic architecture. He returned to France to become assistant librarian at his alma mater, the école des Beaux-Arts. He met the young art historian Wilhelm Vöge in 1893. In 1894 he issued two volumes of his sweeping survey on the gothic origins of Italian art, Origines françaises de l’architecture gothique en Italie and Les Origines françaises de l’art gothique en Italie. In 1896 he visited Cyprus under the auspices of the Ministère de l’Instruction Publique et des Beaux-Arts, where he was delighted to find “pure” Gothic architecture, untouched by the restorers’ efforts in France had changed the character of many medieval buildings. There Enlart measured the structures from the Crusades. Though previous work had been done by his compatriots the Charles-Jean-Melchior Vogüé and Baron Emmanuel Guillaume Rey (b.1837) in 1860, as well as by Britishers Edward I’Anson (1811-1888) and Sidney Vacher (1854-1934) in 1882-1883, Enlart was the first person to identify and systematically document the buildings. His resulting book on the architecture of Cyprus, L’Architecture gothique et de la Renaissance en Chypre, was published in 1899. Beginning in 1902, Enlart issued his Manuel d’archéologie française a survey of medieval arts from architecture to costume running to four volumes through 1916. In 1903, he was made curator of the Trocadéro Musée de Sculpture comparée (museum of comparative sculpture), a museum of plaster casts of French monuments. He wrote his opinion in the Bulletin monumental in 1906 that the flamboyant style (late Gothic) style had originated in England. This view caused great controversy in France and bitterness among some former friends, but is today Enlart’s observation is largely accepted. He issued a catalog of the collection in 1910 and achieved the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur. An article on the pedagogy medieval artifactual archaeology appeared in 1911. He became a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in 1925. At the end of his life, he donated his collection of medieval objects from Picardy to the Boulogne museum. A book on Gothic furniture remained uncompleted at Enlart’s death and was posthumously finished by Jean Verrier. He was a member of the école Française in Rome. Enlart advanced the argument that the Gothic style in Europe emanated from France, particularly through the Cistercian order. His principle areas of research were medieval architecture in the eastern Mediterranean and Italy. His belief that the Gothic style belonged so closely to France led him to propose renaming Gothic architecture “French architecture” or “ogival”. Throughout his career, he was a frequent contributor to the Bulletin monumental.

    Selected Bibliography

    [complete bibliography:] Dufay, P. “Essai d’une bibliographie sommaire des travaux de Camille Enlart.” Camille Enlart, 1862-1927. Paris: J. Naert, 1929; Origines françaises de l’architecture gothique en Italie. Paris: Thorin, 1894; Les Origines françaises de l’art gothique en Italie. Paris: Thorin, 1894; Les Monuments de l’architecture romane et de transition dans la région picarde: Anciens diocèses d’Amiens et de Boulogne. Amiens: Yvert et Tellier, 1895; L’Architecture gothique et de la Renaissance en Chypre. 2 vols. Paris: E. Leroux, 1899, English, Hunt, D., ed. Gothic Art and the Renaissance in Cyprus. London: Trigraph/A. G. Leventis Foundation, 1987; Manuel d’archéologie française depuis les temps mérovingiens jusqu’à la Renaissance. 4 vols. Paris: A. Picard, 1902-1927; L’Art roman en Italie: L’Architecture et la décoration. Paris: A. Morancé, 1924; Les monuments des croisés dans le royaume de Jérusalem: architecture religieuse et civile. Paris: P. Geuthner, 1925; Villes mortes du moyen âge. Paris: E. de Boccard, 1920; Catalogue général du Musée de sculpture comparée au Palais du Trocadéro. Paris: A. Picard & Fils, 1910; “Origine anglaise du style gothique flamboyant.” Bulletin monumental 70 (1906): 38-81 and 74 (1910): 125-67; and Enlart, Desiré Louis Camille. “The Teaching of Mediaeval Archaeology.” American Historical Association. Annual Report [for 1909] (1911): 103-114.


    Bazin, Germain. Histoire de l’histoire de l’art: de Vasari à nos jours. Paris: Albin Michel, 1986, p. 434; Camille Enlart, 1862-1927. Paris: J. Naert, 1929; Coldstream, Nicola. “Introduction: Camille Enlart and the Gothic Architecture of Cyprus.” in, Enlart, Camille. Gothic Art and the Renaissance in Cyprus. London: Trigraph/A. G. Leventis Foundation, 1987, pp. 1-10.


    Contributors: Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen


    Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen. "Enlart, Camille." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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