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Gould, Cecil

    Image Credit: Monuments Men and Women

    Full Name: Gould, Cecil

    Other Names:

    • Cecil Hilton Monk Gould

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1918

    Date Died: 1994

    Place Born: London, Greater London, England, UK

    Place Died: Chard, Somerset, England, UK

    Home Country/ies: United Kingdom

    Subject Area(s): Renaissance


    Historian of Renaissance art and Deputy Director of the National Gallery, London, 1973-1978. Gould was the son of Admiralty Lieutenant-Commander Rupert Thomas Gould (1890-1948), well-known as a panelist of the BBC “Brains Trust” program during World War II, and Muriel Hilda Estall (Gould) (1894-1980). At age 9 his mother separated permanently from his pathologically compulsive father and Gould was raised by her. He attended Westminster School, learning German in Germany before returning to England to study at the Courtauld Institute in 1939. At the outbreak of Word War II, he joined the Royal Air Force serving in Europe and in the Middle East. He never completed his degree at the Institute. While still in uniform, he authored an article in 1945 with Anthony Blunt. After the War, Philip Hendy the new Director of the National Gallery, London, appointed Gould to Assistant Keeper there in 1946, initially in charge of administrative details. Gould published scholarly articles on French art, moderating toward Renaissance subjects when his museum duties moved him in that direction. His first major work, An Introduction to Italian Renaissance Painting appeared in 1957. Eventually, he was assigned to write the catalog of 16th-century Italian paintings which included entries on Raphael, Titian and Michelangelo, the successive volume to the one by his superior, Martin Davies. The first volume of the catalog appeared in 1959 and the second in 1962. That year, 1962, he was promoted to Deputy Keeper. France remained an interest of his, organizing the Arts Council exhibition on Corot, and writing a brief account of Napoleon’s looting of works of art for the Louvre, Trophy of Conquest, both in 1965. His Charlton Lectures at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1964, were published in 1966 as Michelangelo: Battle of Cascina. He was promoted Keeper and Deputy Director in 1973 when Michael Levey was appointed Director. His Italian Renaissance catalog was updated and reissued in 1975, the same year as his book on Leonardo. He published a catalogue raisonné on the paintings of Correggio in 1976, the first serious treatment in forty years. Gould retired in 1978, retiring to a village in Somerset. A book on Bernini in France of that title appeared in 1981. Gould had a strong affection for opera and frequently attended Covent Garden and Glyndebourne. At the end of his life, with health declining, he was made a correspondant (foreign associate) of the Institut de France. He died at age 75. He completed a monograph on Parmigianino which was published shortly after his death. Gould was a meticulous scholar. His art histories considered the relationships between media, such as painting, sculpture and the other arts. He examined art through the lens of the broader culture, which he knew personally from extensive travel. He was, however, averse to methods much beyond connoisseurship. His major interest was in attribution and subject matter identification. The Dizionario biografico degli Italiani contains numerous entries by him. £7SI

    Selected Bibliography

    The Sixteenth-century Venetian School [of the National Gallery]. London: National Gallery, 1959; The Sixteenth-century Italian Schools: Excluding the Venetian [of the National Gallery]. London: National Gallery, 1962; Michelangelo: Battle of Cascina. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1966; and Davies, Martin. French School: Early 19th Century, Impressionists, Post-Impressionists etc.[of the National Gallery]. London: National Gallery, 1970; Leonardo: the Artist and the Non-artist. London: Wiedenfeld & Nicolson, 1975; The Sixteenth-century Italian Schools [of the National Gallery]. London: National Gallery, 1975; The Paintings of Correggio. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1976; Bernini in France: an Episode in Seventeenth-century History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982; Parmigianino. New York: Abbeville Press, 1994.


    Bazin, Germain. Histoire de l’histoire de l’art; de Vasari à nos jours. Paris: Albin Michel, 1986, p. 515; [obituaries:] “Cecil Gould.” Times (London) April 26, 1994; Mullaly, Terrence. “Cecil Gould.” Independent (London), June 3, 1994, p. 28; Levey, Michael. “Cecil Gould (1918-94).” Burlington Magazine 136, no. 1097 (August 1994), p. 554.


    "Gould, Cecil." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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