Marquand Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University; scholar of Baroque. Martin received his bachelor of arts degree at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, in 1938. He attended Princeton University where he was awarded a master of fine arts degree in 1941. After teaching for a year at the Iowa State University, he enlisted in the Canadian army in 1942. He served with the Third Canadian Division during World War II, recording the division's invasion of the Normandy coast among other duties and attaining the rank of major. Martin returned to Princeton following the War as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. His field of art history was Byzantium and his 1947 dissertation topic was on the illustration of the Heavenly Ladder of John Climacus, written under Charles Rufus Morey. He joined the faculty of Princeton as an assistant professor that same year. Martin published in the area of Byzantine studies until 1954. After that, he changed to the baroque era, which he continued the rest of his life. He was appointed full professor in 1961. In 1968 Martin authored the first monograph in the catalogue raisonné for Peter Paul Rubens, the Corpus Rubinianum Ludwig Burchard. The volume, The Ceiling Paintings for the Jesuit Church in Antwerp, met with critical success and confirmed his reputation as a scholar for Rubens. He served as editor-in-chief of Art Bulletin from 1971 to 1974. In 1971 he organized a symposium and exhibition held at the Princeton University's Art Museum, Rubens Before 1620, with the aid of Rubenshuis director Frans Baudouin. Martin authored a second volume in the Rubens catalogue raisonné series, The Decorations for the Pompa Introitus Ferdinandi, for which he received the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award of the College Art Association in 1972. He was named Marquand Professor of Art and Archaeology in 1970, and chairman of the art and archaeology department of Princeton from 1973 to 1979. He published an introduction of Baroque art, The Baroque, in 1977. Martin lectured at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and served on the visiting committee to the department of European paintings of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was president of the College Art Association of America from 1984 to 1986. He was succeed in the Marquand Chair by Yoshiaki Shimizu. In his final years, he suffered from Alzheimer's disease; he died in relative obscurity in 2000. His students included Charles Scribner III. Martin's reputation at Princeton was that of an engaging lecturer. He gave the appearance of never relying from prepared notes, but in fact, his lectures were scrupulously detailed, frequently written word-for-word. Student's recall a lecture style where he would move around the stage with a lively delivery. His gray van Dyck moustache gave him the appearance of a person from the era about which he lectured.
The Ceiling Paintings of the Jesuit Church in Antwerp. Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard I. New York: Phaidon, 1968; The Decorations for the Pompa Introitus Ferdinandi. Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard XVI. New York: Phaidon, 1972; The Farnese Gallery. Princeton Monograph in Art and Archaeology XXXVI. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965; The Illustration of the Heavenly Ladder of John Climacus. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1954; The Baroque. London: A. Lane, 1977; and Feigenbaum, Gail. Van Dyck as Religious Artist. Princeton, NJ: Art Museum, Princeton University, 1979; "Bibliography of the Principal Publications of Charles Rufus Morey. Art Bulletin 32 (December 1950): 345-349; edited. Rubens Before 1620. Princeton, NJ: Art Museum, Princeton University, 1972.
Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Modern Perspectives in Western Art History: An Anthology of 20th-Century Writings on the Visual Arts. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971, p. 86 mentioned; [obituary:] John Rupert Martin, Baroque Art Expert. The Toronto Star August 3, 2000; Princeton Professor John Rupert Martin Dies at 83. Princeton University Office of Communications, July 28, 2000. http://www.princeton.edu/pr/news/00/q3/0728-martin.htm; personal correspondence, Thomas Dacosta Kaufmann, Feb. 10, 2008.