Cornell and Yale professor of the Italian Renaissance and Michelangelo. Gilbert was the son of Allan H. Gilbert (1888-1976) and Katharine Everett (Gilbert) (1886-1952), both professors at Duke University. His mother was a distinguished aesthetician for whom a dormitory at Duke is named. The younger Gilbert grew up in Durham, NC, attending the public schools (where he learned Latin as a requirement) and various undergraduate colleges including Duke University, 1938-1940, Johns Hopkins University, 1940, and New York University where he received a B.A. in 1942. He pursued graduate work at New York University, teaching as an instructor in the department of art history at Emory University, Atlanta, GA in 1946 and the University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, the following year. He remained at Louisville until 1956 except for a year as Fulbright professor, University of Rome in 1951-1952. He published an early article, "On Subject and Non-Subject in Renaissance Pictures" in the Art Bulletin following his return. His Ph.D., from NYU was granted in 1955 on the somewhat obscure topic of Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo (fl 1506-1548). Walter Friedlaender and Richard Krautheimer supervised the dissertation. Gilbert was hired as assistant professor of fine arts at Indiana University at Bloomington, a position he held until 1958. He was a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1959 and then curator of the Ringling [Art] Museums in Sarasota, FL, through 1961. That year he moved to Waltham, MA, to be associate professor of art at Brandeis University, where he chaired the department (1963-1966). He was visiting professor at Harvard University, 1964, receiving the Frank Jewett Mather, Jr., Award for art journalism from the College Art Association the same year. In 1965 Gilbert was named Sidney and Ellen Wien Professor of History of Art; he left Brandeis for Queens College (Flushing, NY), City University of New York, as professor of art, and chairman of department. For the 1967-68 year, Gilbert was named a Kress fellow, Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. He relinquished the chair in 1972, remaining on the faculty until 1977. During that time he taught asa Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor at Williams College, Williamstown, MA, in 1976, and Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of the History of Art at Cornell University in 1977. Gilbert was appointed Yale University professor of history of art in 1981. He was editor-in-chief of the Art Bulletin between 1980-1985. His translation of Michelangelo poetry were set to music in 2004 by David Ashley White.
Gilbert, Creighton E.
06 April 2011
[dissertation:] The Works of Girolamo Savoldo. 2 vols. New York University, 1955, updated and published as, The Works of Girolamo Savoldo: the 1955 Dissertation, with a Review of Research, 1955-1985. New York: Garland, 1986; "On Subject and Non-Subject in Renaissance Pictures." Art Bulletin 34 (1952): 202-16; [translated] Complete Poems and Selected Letters of Michelangelo. New York: Random House, 1963; Seventeenth-Century Paintings from the Low Countries. October House, 1966; Michelangelo. New York: McGraw, 1967; Change in Piero della Francesca. J. J. Augustin, 1968; History of Renaissance Art. New York: Abrams, 1973; edited, Italian Art, 1500-1600: Sources and Documents. New York: Prentice-Hall, 1980; Poets Seeing Artists' Work: Instances in the Italian Renaissance. Florence: L. S. Olschki, 1991; Michelangelo: On and Off the Sistine Ceiling. New York: George Braziller, 1994; Caravaggio and His Two Cardinals. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995; How Fra Angelico and Signorelli Saw the End of the World. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003.
Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Research Guide to the History of Western Art. Sources of Information in the Humanities, no. 2. Chicago: American Library Association, 1982, p. 82; Who's Who in American Art 16th (1986), p. 330; [videotape interview] 1997 University of Louisville, Bridwell Library.