Skip to content

Lavin, Marilyn Aronberg

    Full Name: Lavin, Marilyn Aronberg

    Other Names:

    • Marilyn Aronberg Lavin

    Gender: female

    Date Born: 1925

    Place Born: St. Louis, Saint Louis City, MO, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): Italian (culture or style), Italian Renaissance-Baroque styles, painting (visual works), and Renaissance


    Piero Della Francesca and quattrocento art scholar. Aronberg was the daughter of Charles Aronberg and Blanch Silverstone (Aronberg). Aronberg attended Washington University, St. Louis, MO in under Horst Woldemar Janson, graduating in 1947. She continued her M.A. in 1949 under Janson, who himself was still pursuing his Ph. D. at Harvard. While a graduate assistant in art history for the 1949-1950 year, she met Irving Lavin, a student in her class taking his first art history course. Aronberg gained a certificate at the Free University of Brussels also in 1949. In 1952 she married Lavin two years her junior, who had been admitted to Harvard graduate school in art history. Between 1953-1955 she worked as a curator of the Robbins Print Collection, Arlington, MA. From 1955 until 1957 she was a Fulbright fellow in Rome, Italy. In 1957 she became a staff writer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, advancing to researcher in 1959. She worked as a consultant for the publishers Time, Inc., beginning in 1965 and the Heritage Press, a fine-press editions publisher, editing a two-volume Lives of the Most Eminent Painters by Giorgio Vasari for the latter in 1967. In 1972 she wrote the volume on Piero della Francesca’s Flagellation, for the important Art in Context series issued by Allan Lane. Her Ph.D. was awarded in 1973 from New York University with a dissertation on Piero Della Francesca. In 1975 she resigned from the Metropolitan to become visiting professor of art history at Princeton University. She published Seventeenth-Century Barberini Documents and Inventories of Art 1977 which won the Charles Rufus Morey Award from College Art Association of America. She was also a visiting professor at Yale University in 1977, and at the University of Maryland in 1979. In 1981 her monograph on Piero’s “Baptism of Christ” was published by Yale University Press. Lavin wrote a history of the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton in 1983, Eye of the Tiger. She was the organizing scholar for the 1995 exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, Washgington, D. C., on “Piero Della Francesca and His Legacy.” Much of Lavin’s career was determined by her marriage and dual-career with her husband, Irving Lavin. When her husband was appointed at New York University in 1963, she worked at the Metropolitan and continuing her graduate work at NYU. She was never a derivative scholar, however, and her works stands separate in method and merit from her husband’s. She has written that the bulk of her research has been through personal interest rather than employment. As such, she said, she could afford to publish books that weren’t written to persuade tenure committees. Seventeenth-Century Barberini Documents and Inventories of Art was an early publication in the primary source documentation within the field of the history of collecting.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:] Studies in Urbinate Painting, 1458-1474: Piero della Francesca, Paolo Uccello, and Joos van Ghent. New York University, 1973; Seventeenth-century Barberini Documents and Inventories of Art. New York: New York University Press, 1975; Vasari, Giorgio. Lives of the Most Eminent Painters. 2 vols. New York, Heritage Press, 1967; Piero della Francesca: The Flagellation. New York: Penguin, 1972; Piero della Francesca’s “Baptism of Christ”. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981; The Eye of the Tiger: The Founding and Development of the Department of Art and Archaeology, 1883-1923, Princeton University. Princeton, NJ: Department of Art and Archaeology and Art Museum, 1983; edited, IL 60: Essays Honoring Irving Lavin on His Sixtieth Birthday. New York: Italica Press,1990; The Place of Narrative: Mural Decoration in Italian Churches, 431-1600. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990; edited. Piero Della Francesca and His Legacy Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1995.


    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. 34; Lavin, Marilyn Aronberg. “Preface.” IL 60: Essays Honoring Irving Lavin on His Sixtieth Birthday. New York: Italica Press,1990, pp. ix-xii.


    "Lavin, Marilyn Aronberg." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

    More Resources

    Search for materials by & about this art historian: