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Langlotz, Ernst

    Full Name: Langlotz, Ernst

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1895

    Date Died: 1978

    Place Born: Ronneburg, Thuringia, Germany

    Place Died: Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

    Home Country/ies: Germany

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


    Specialist in ancient Greek and Roman art, particularly Greek sculpture from the 6th and 5th centuries B.C. and the early Christian era. Langlotz’s father was a weaver. Langlotz himself studied classical archaeology, philology and art history in Leipzig. Although schooled in the positivistic tradition of Franz Studniczka, for whom he wrote his promotionsschrift at Leipzig in 1921, Langlotz was strongly influenced by the Lebensphilosophie of the poet Stefan George (1868-1933) and by Friedrich Nietzsche’s theories of art history and classical studies. He also attended courses in art history under Heinrich Wölfflin in Munich. In Greece, he met and was further influenced by the classical pottery scholar Ernst Buschor. He taught as a privatdozent in Wurzburg and acted as conservator of the Martin von Wagner Museum. In 1932 he published a catalog of the collection, Griechische Vasen in Würzburg, the first in what would be a long interest in vase painting. He was professor at the University of Jena from 1931 to 1933 and then at Frankfurt a. Main, 1933-1941. In 1939 he published Die Archaischen Marmorbildwerke der Akropolis with Hans Schrader. In 1941 he joined the University of Bonn where he remained the rest of his career. During the time as professor in Bonn time he also acted as director of the Akademisches Kunstmuseum in Bonn. In 1952 Langlotz saw and visually authenticated in a letter a kouros (archaic Greek statue) in a Swiss collection. This documentation formed the beginning of the controversial validity of the work, since 1983 in the Getty Museum, California. He retired from Bonn in 1963. Near the end of his life he published a volume on the art of northern Greece in 1975.Although close to the Strukturforschung (structural research) school, he rejected the school’s excessive abstractions and formalism: for Langlotz, the developments in representing the human form concretized the development of artistic style, and the wider Zeitgeist (spirit of the age) of a given culture. He wrote that Zeitgeist or the spirit of the age was the motivating force in stylistic change. (Archäologenbildnisse, 268). Langlotz’s method employed stylistic analysis borrowed from Wölfflin and a positivism akin to that of Studniczka. His acknowledgment of Roman copies as important for the study of lost Greek originals and his work on the sculpture of the archaic period and southern Italy (magna Grecia) remain important.

    Selected Bibliography

    Griechische Vasenbilder. Heidelberg: E. von König, 1922; Frühgriechische Bildhauerschulen. Nurnberg: E. Frommann & Sohn, 1927; and Schrader, Hans. Die archaischen Marmorbildwerke der Akropolis. Frankfurt am Main: V. Klostermann, 1939; Die Darstellung des Menschen in der griechischen Kunst. Bonn: Scheur, 1941; über das interpretieren griechischer plastik. Bonn: Gebr. Scheur [Bonner universitäts-buchdruckerei], 1942; Archaische Plastik auf der Akropolis. Frankfurt am Main: V. Klostermann,1943; Das Ludovisische Relief. Mainz: F. Kupferberg, 1951; Alkamenes-Probleme. Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 1952; Die kulturelle und künstlerische Hellenisierung der Küsten des Mittelmeers durch die Stadt Phokaia. Cologne: Opladen, Westdeutscher Verlag, 1966; Der architekturgeschichtliche Ursprung der christlichen Basilika. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1972.


    Archäologenbildnisse: Porträts und Kurzbiographien von Klassichen Archäologen deutscher Sprache. Reinhard Lullies, ed. Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1988: 268-269; An Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology. Nancy Thomson de Grummond, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996, pp. 658-7; Kimmelman, Michael. “Absolutely Real? Absolutely Fake?” New York Times, August 4, 1991, Section 2, p. 1.


    "Langlotz, Ernst." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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